2018 FIFA World Cup: What you need to know before England and Belgium face each other today
With dark horses Belgium giving one of their best performances at the World Cup, it is going to be interesting to see favourites England try to stop them.
After all the drama at 2018 FIFA World Cup, France will be playing against Croatia in the finals but the third place match is not one that can be ignored. With dark horses Belgium giving one of their best performances at the World Cup, it is going to be interesting to see favourites England play against them and try to stop Romelu Lukaku find the back of the net as Harry Kane will look to end the tournament with a lot more goals in his kitty.
Here are some interesting facts you need to know as Belgium face England in the third-place match today.
1) Appearances- Belgium made their 13th appearance at a World Cup when they opened their campaign in emphatic fashion with a 3-0 win over Panama. They are currently ranked 3rd in the world.
2) Best moment- They have never been World Cup champs and missed out on the golden opportunity even with this talented bunch of people. Their best finish was in 1986 when they finished the competition fourth. They will hope to do one better when they face off against England in their third place game.
3) Leading goal scorer- Their overall World Cup leading goal scorer is Romelu Lukaku with a total of five goals under his name. He is also the leading goal scorer in their current squad with 40 goals.
4) Journey to the last four — Belgium had had a dream run in this World Cup. Unbeaten in the group stages with comprehensive victories over Panama, Tunisia and England. Though they faced aberration in the knockout stage when they faced Japan. After being 2 goals down, they managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a late goal in injury time. Round of eight game against Brazil was touted to be much more difficult then it turned out to be. Knocking out five time champions though always require guts. They started the game at par against France but the spirited French side sunk the Belgium liner restricting them to enter their first ever finals.
5) Players to watch out for- Eden Hazard by far was one of the lone spark in the game against France. The Red Devils will definitely hope the Chelsea striker will contribute to a team’s quest to finish on the podium. After scoring two and assisting in two goals he will be the player that England should be vary of.
1) Appearance- England made their 15th appearance at a World Cup final and they are ranked12th and they are currently equalise on points with Denmark.
2) England’s moment of glory was the summer of 1966 when Bobby Moore lifted the coveted trophy. It has been more 50 years and yet again the Lions failed to bring home the cup. Extra time goal from Mandzukic sunk all hopes of the spirited young side under the leadership of Kane and mastermind Southgate. Both of them would atleast like to end up on podium even though that would mean a consolation.
3) Leading goal scorer- Legendary English striker Gary Lineker is their leading goal scorer at World Cups with a total of 10 goals. Harry Kane though is the leading scorer of the English side with a total of 19 goals in 27 appearances.
4) Journey to the knockout stage- The start of the tournament was jittery for the three lions, scraping through against Tunisia in an injury time goal. A brace by the captain saved them blushes. They recovered in style, thumping half a dozen against Panama. Their first acid test though was against Belgium, where they were defeated by a lone goal. Round of 16 saw them being stretched to the wire and scores were settled though penalty shootout. Their most clinical performance came against Sweden, with a 2-0 win. After stuttering against Croatia in the semi-finals, they will now look to bulldoze Belgium to get a podium finish.
5) Players to watch out for- Harry Kane’s performance is the silver lining for the English team in this World Cup. He is their leading goal scorer with a total of six goals and is four goals short from becoming England’s leading goal scorer at a World Cup final.
Golden Boot winner
It is quite ironical that the top two leading goal scorers of the tournament are not playing the grand finale. Harry Kane and RomeuLukaku have both been in emphatic form scoring 6 & 4 goals respectively. Spectators will hope that these players will step up and give them a gush of adrenaline rush in what is touted to be a game of academic relevance.
Considering the fact that the two leading goals scorers of this World Cup will face off each other, it will be a real challenge for the goal keepers at either end to keep them quiet. But they wouldn’t be too worried, as both Courtois and Pickford have maintained a fantastic form throughout the competition after making a total of 22 and 15 saves totally.
1) When English goalie Peter Shilton led his team at the1990 FIFA World Cup Italy, he was the oldest captain in the history of the competition at the age of 40 years. Interestingly, when 39 years old David James made his debut in the 2010 World Cup South Africa against Algeria he became oldest debutant at a World Cup match.
2) Even though England won their first World Cup penalty shootout, after defeating Colombia 4-3, they would definitely want to avoid a similar situation in the playoff as their record is dismal. They along with Italy have been knocked out thrice on penalty shootouts. The most by any participating nation at the World Cup.
3) England’s entire squad plays their domestic football at home. The only participating team to maintain this record.
4) Belgium, who play in red, were given the nickname the ‘Red Devils’ by a journalist after beating the Netherlands 5-0 on 29 April 1906. The name is still widely used today, and everyone knows them as the Belgian Red Devils. The Belgians share their nickname with football giants Manchester United, who went a step further by incorporating a devil in their club logo.
5) Prior to the World Cup, the biggest international football competition was the Olympics where Belgium won their only international football tournament during the 1920 Summer Olympics, held in Antwerp. However, they were awarded the gold medal by default after their opponent, Czechoslovakia, walked off the field in protest of one of their players having been sent off. The British referee – unimpressed by the behaviour of the Czechoslovakian team – decided to abandon the game and award the medal to Belgium. To this day, it is still the only time that the final of a major international football tournament has been abandoned.
Head to Head
These two teams have met on 22 different occasions, of which The Three Lions have ended on the winning side 15 times. On the other hand Belgium has won just three game and it has ended in a draw on four occasions. The recent meeting between the two teams came last month when they were placed in the same group. The game ended, where Belgium won, by a goal to nil.