14 Jul 2018
World Cup: Belgium to face England in 3rd place play-off
Written bySayak Basu
With talent aplenty, it came as a shock to see England and Belgium stumble in semis.
Belgium were lethal this term but, somehow, lost their mojo against France.
Kane-led England were in fierce form, as well, but a defeat against Croatia turned things sour for Southgate's boys.
Tonight, these two teams will play for pride in third place play-off fixture.
Here's our match preview.
An unexpected blow from Mandzukic
Failing to overcome their knock-out stage curse, England will look to achieve their best finish, in 52 years, when they take the field tonight.
An early free-kick from Trippier gave England the lead which they held on to the 68th minute, but the experienced Croatia bounced back with a goal from Perisic.
A winner, in extra time, from Mandzukic sealed the deal for Croatia.
Best finish at the World Cup
With a talented squad boasting of Lukaku, De Bruyne, Courtois among others, they will go all in against England.
Belgium have a chance to secure their best result ever at the tournament.
Belgium have participated in the World Cup on 13 occasions, with their debut appearance being in the first edition.
Interestingly, the first World Cup final was officiated by a Belgian.
Head to head- What do the numbers say?
Before this World Cup, England had lost only 1 out of their previous 21 head-to-head encounters against Belgium (W 15, D 5).
Interestingly, the two sides have met thrice before at World Cups, with each side winning one.
After Brazil and Turkey in 2002, this would be the first time that two teams are facing each other twice in the same World Cup tournament.
Kane or Lukaku?
Golden Boot race
Harry Kane is the leading goal-scorer in this World Cup and is set to win the coveted Golden Boot trophy unless Romelu Lukaku decides to take matters in his own hands.
Kane has 6 goals to his name and Lukaku has netted 4.
The Manchester United marksman needs to be at his absolute best to score a hat-trick and seal the honor for himself.
Guide to picking the winning Fantasy XI
Undoubtedly, Courtois needs to be at the goal as Chelsea vanguard has been in astounding form throughout the tournament.
Kompany, Danny Rose and Alderweireld can create an impenetrable fortress at the back.
The mid-field is where both teams shine.
Hazard, De Bruyne, Trippier and Lingard create a mid-field as strong as a rock.
The front-line could be a combination of Kane, Sterling and Lukaku