Belgium 3rd at World Cup with 2-0 win over England
By JAMES ELLINGWORTH
AP Sports Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — For Belgium and England, the third-place match at the World Cup was more like a dress rehearsal for future finals.
At least they hope.
The Belgians earned their best World Cup finish by beating England 2-0 on Saturday in a match both saw as the start of a push for the European Championship title in 2020 or the World Cup in 2022.
“With this winning mentality you can win trophies,” said Eden Hazard, who scored Belgium’s second goal. “In two years, in four years, we will be better. We have young players. They are very good also in the team. They push all of us.”
Thomas Meunier and Hazard both scored at St. Petersburg Stadium in a match between the two semifinal losers.
England matched its best World Cup result — fourth in 1990 — since winning the tournament for the only time in 1966.
“Today shows there’s room for improvement. We’re not the finished article. We’re still learning. We’re still getting better,” England striker Harry Kane said. “We don’t want to wait another 20-odd years to get into another major semifinal.”
Meunier’s goal matched a World Cup record for Belgium by having 10 different players score in a tournament, something only done before by France in 1982 and Italy in 2006.
Meunier scored in the fourth minute, knocking a cross from Nacer Chadli past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.