Fans troll England after loss in third-place playoff

For all the talk that football was coming home, England didn’t even end up winning third-place, and fans have had a field day.

Belgium beat England 2-0 to secure their best ever finish at a World Cup and send Gareth Southgate’s side home with a second-straight loss.

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A fourth-minute goal from Thomas Meunier and an 82nd minute Eden Hazard strike earned Belgium the victory and the third-place on Saturday, which improves on their previous best performance of a fourth-place finish in 1986.

“It’s all about that achievement. I think these players deserve that,” said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

“What we have seen in this World Cup is that the players did not want to rely on talent anymore, they wanted to rely on working as a team, becoming a group of players that would do anything to achieve results”.

Eric Dier of the England national football team reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 3rd Place Playoff match between Belgium and England at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 14, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Igor Russak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

England were on top for most of the second half but with captain Harry Kane looking tired, Belgium’s greater sharpness in the final third proved decisive.

“This game showed there is still room for improvement,” said Kane.

“We’re not the finished article, we’re still improving and will only get better. We don’t want to wait another 20 years to get into the semi-finals and the big matches. We need to improve, we need to get better but that will come,” he said.

The irony that England ended up losing the third-place clash was not lost on fans, who savagely trolled The Three Lions on social media.

While England manager Gareth Southgate made five changes to the side which lost to Croatia, Martinez made just two switches.

Meunier returned from suspension and Youri Tielemans given a start ahead of Marouane Fellaini in midfield with the Belgians fielding their strong front three of Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.

De Bruyne should have made it 2-0 in the 12th minute when the ball found him at the back post after a slip-up from John Stones, but his poorly struck shot was easily dealt with by Pickford.

Kane, the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, had an opportunity when set up by Raheem Sterling in the 24th minute but was off-balance as he screwed his shot wide.

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – JULY 14: Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Toby Alderweireld pictured during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia Play-off for third place match between Belgium and England at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 14, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, 14/07/2018 ( Photo by Peter De Voecht / Photonews via Getty Images)

Southgate brought on Marcus Rashford for Sterling and Jesse Lingard for Danny Rose at the break and the change worked well, with England well on top in the second half.

Toby Alderweireld was forced to clear an Eric Dier effort off his line at full stretch after a neat exchange between the Tottenham midfielder and Rashford ended with a chip over Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois.

Dier and then Harry Maguire both headed wide from promising positions, while at thee other end Meunier went close to a second with a powerful volley that Pickford did well to save.

But the game was wrapped up when De Bruyne burst from midfield and slipped the ball through to Hazard, who glided past Phil Jones and fired into the bottom corner.

with AAP