Marcus Rashford fails to make his mark as Manchester United man is off target in England's defeat to Belgium

Matt Jones 29/06/2018
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England missed the chance to top their World Cup group as an Adnan Januzaj stunner stole the show in Belgium’s 1-0 win.

It was something of a dead rubber as both teams had qualified, with 17 changes among the 22 starting players, but there was the prestige of coming top, as well as avoiding Colombia in the last 16.

Here, we analyse the performance of England striker Marcus Rashford, who endured a frustrating night in Kaliningrad.

STATISTICS

Goals – 0

Assists – 0

Shots – 4

Shots on target – 1

Touches – 51

Passes – 33

Key passes – 0

Dribbles – 4

Dispossessed – 2

30-SECOND REPORT

Harry Kane has taken this World Cup by storm and was given a rest in order to replenish his energy levels. Step forward then Marcus Rashford, who has perhaps been unlucky to find himself starting both of England’s openers on the bench.

He got his start here and although he was bright and alert, never giving the Belgian defence a moment to rest, his performance was punctuated by a series of squandered chances.

GOT RIGHT

Movement – He was always on the move and when balls were sprayed behind the Belgium back line, Rashford was on them in a flash. Whether played over the top for him to chase or played directly into his feet for him to bamboozle the Belgian defence, he was always an option.

Confidence – Even after his miss he didn’t hide away, pulling out to the right flank and still going in search of the ball. He lined up a free-kick later on and rocketed it just over Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

GOT WRONG

Grasping his chance – If you would have been told a player with a Manchester United connection was going to be the match-winner in this game, Adnan Januzaj wouldn’t have been too far up the list. Rashford would have been at the top, but he was taught a lesson in how to finish by United alumni Januzaj with a stunning strike. When presented with his own opportunity – and a far easier one at that – he was thwarted by Courtois, when he shouldn’t have been given the keeper a chance.

VERDICT

This was a chance for several fringe players to push for a starting berth in the round of 16, and among the players at the top of that list is Rashford, who has shown he belongs in an England jersey in his formative appearances. He already has 20 caps aged 20, but only three goals.

Kane’s place is undoubtedly safe in the starting XI and Rashford may well have been pushed down the pecking order in terms of first to be called upon substitutes.

RATING: 5/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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Adnan Januzaj wonder strike sees Belgium top World Cup group after 1-0 win over England

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Former Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj’s wonder-goal saw Belgium go through as World Cup Group G winners after a narrow 1-0 win over England.

Both sides fielded much-changed starting XIs for this match having already qualified for the knockout stages, with England making eight changes and Belgium nine to the teams that had earned both sides two wins each heading into this fixture.

They entered the game tied atop the group with six points apiece, identical goal difference, and the same number of goals scored, meaning there was a chance this group could be decided by fair play points or even a drawing of lots, had it ended in a draw.

Instead, Januzaj’s curling strike early in the second half, his first international goal, gave Belgium all three points and top spot, meaning they will face Japan in the round of 16 on Monday. England will play Colombia the following day.

It was only Belgium’s second win in 22 attempts against England, and first since 1936.

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Adnan Januzaj serves up a reminder of his talent with special winner for Belgium against England

Matt Jones 29/06/2018
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It hardly mattered in terms of progression, but Belgium earned a third straight win at the World Cup and topped Group G by virtue of Adnan Januzaj’s sumptuous strike which earned a 1-0 victory over England.

It was something of a dead rubber as both teams had qualified, with 17 changes among the 22 starting players, but there was the prestige of coming top, as well as avoiding Colombia in the last 16.

Here, we analyse the performance of match-winner Januzaj, who served up a special goal to give us a reminder of who he is.

STATISTICS

Goals – 1

Assists – 0

Shots – 4

Shots on target – 1

Touches – 36

Passes – 17

Key passes – 1

Dribbles – 3

Dispossessed – 2

30-SECOND REPORT

This was a chance for Belgium’s fringe players to show their head coach that they can play a part as the World Cup reaches the business end of proceedings.

Januzaj was pretty wasteful in possession as he embarked on three dribbles but was dispossessed twice. But just when he was perhaps fading further from thought, he dipped his shoulder and buried an absolute bullet past Jordan Pickford. Belgium have plenty of magic in their 23-man squad and Januzaj showed there is plenty of depth.

GOT RIGHT

Magic in his feet – The sad case of Januzaj’s fall from grace proves talent alone is not enough to succeed at Manchester United. Michael Laudrup once said of him after he’d torn his Swasnea City side apart: “You can see players who play 10 or 15 games at the top level and everyone tells them they’re so great and they believe it and think they’re already in the top three in the world.”

It’s proven to be the case for a player still only 23. But he’s undoubtedly an exceptional talent, as proved by mesmeric footwork followed by a brilliant finish.

GOT WRONG

Way out wide – He’s a winger by trade so of course he’s going to hug the touchline, but Januzaj was guilty of not getting himself in the game enough. He had only 36 touches the whole game, only striker Michy Batshuayi had less. He made only 17 passes – four fewer than Batshuayi. Every other Red Devil had double that amount, bar goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (33). Even substitute Vincent Kompany made 17 passes and he only played 17 minutes.

VERDICT

He’d come into the tournament under a cloud following a few underwhelming years in the wilderness since leaving the limelight of Manchester United. There was also the crunching tackle on him in training from talisman Kevin De Bruyne that left him in a heap on the deck.

But Januzaj showed a glimpse of his talent with his goal. He won’t be starting the last 16 clash against Japan but he may have just given manager Roberto Martinez some food for thought.

RATING: 7/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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