Real Madrid target Eden Hazard is brilliant in Belgium's 2-0 win over England to earn our Hero of the Day award

Matt Jones 14/07/2018
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Belgium beat England for the second time at the 2018 World Cup as the Red Devils rubber-stamped third place with a comfortable 2-0 win over the Three Lions to earn their best ever tournament finish.

In a game that has courted controversy for the value it holds, Belgium raced out of the traps to score their quickest ever World Cup goal – the returning Thomas Meunier prodding in Nacer Chadli’s fine cross following a rapid counter-attack after just three minutes and 37 seconds.

England came alive in the second half but Toby Alderweireld cleared off the line from Eric Dier. And Eden Hazard, who had been a thorn in the Three Lions’ paw all day, sealed the win late on following another flowing move.

Here, we analyse the performance of Hazard, who cemented a fine tournament with his side’s second goal.

STATISTICS

14  07 hero of day hazard

30-SECOND REPORT

In a game that was always going to be difficult for both teams to muster any magic after demoralising semi-final exits, Hazard was trouble for England from the off, his jinking, darting runs and laser beam balls bisecting the Three Lions time and time again.

As England looked leggy, Hazard was a live wire, never giving England’s defenders a moment’s peace. He rounded off a fine performance with a deserved goal to kill England off and earn the Red Devils their best ever World Cup finish.

GOT RIGHT

Hazard warning – The third-place play-off doesn’t mean anything, right? Well, someone forgot to tell Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne that as they tormented England. They posed countless problems for a ponderous Three Lions who looked like they’d rather be anywhere else.

Had Romelu Lukaku been on the same wavelength, Belgium could have blown them away. Hazard finished with three key passes and his seven dribbles – four more than any player on the field – left England chasing shadows.

Man of the moment – Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric will likely jostle for the World Cup’s Golden Ball, but Hazard warrants inclusion in the conversation after a scintillating summer – which wasn’t perhaps expected given his mixed club season. But he tore England to shreds here as he easily earned the man of the match award – his fourth of the tournament.

GOT WRONG

Pass accuracy – If there was one criticism to label at the Chelsea schemer it was his sloppiness in possession as he perhaps too often tried to thread the perfect ball through to a teammate. His passing accuracy of 77.2 per cent was lower only than goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ 60.

VERDICT

The preamble to this clash was that if there were going to be any fireworks, they would be sparked by Golden Boot-chasing Harry Kane and Lukaku. But the Manchester United man was wasteful – not for the first time this tournament – while Kane looked subdued.

How thankful we should be for Hazard then, who took an otherwise dour encounter and lit it up with this lively display. His Chelsea future was under scrutiny heading into the World Cup and this shimmering show to secure a place on the podium bookended a momentous month for the midfield magician. Surely one of the European giants will come calling.

RATING: 8/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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Belgium clinched third place at the World Cup as they beat England 2-0 in the third-place play-off in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

The Red Devils made an early breakthrough as Thomas Meunier opened the scoring in the fourth minute.

Eden Hazard doubled the lead in the 82nd minute to secure Belgium’s best-ever finish at a World Cup.

Here, we rate the England players.

STARTING XI

Jordan Pickford – Was helpless for the first goal but denied Meunier a second with a superb save in the second. His distribution let him down. 5

Phil Jones – Always seemed uncomfortable against Hazard and was made to look ordinary when the Chelsea star glided past him and scored the second. 4

John Stones – The pick of England’s defenders. Excellent on the ball and made some vital blocks. 6

Harry Maguire – Dominant in the air but had few options to work with every time he brought the ball out from defence. 5

Eric Dier – Had a couple of England’s best efforts with Toby Alderweireld clearing his chipped finish off the line before he put a decent header wide. 6

Kieran Trippier – His delivery was exquisite again and should’ve produced one goal at least. Six key passes in this encounter. 6

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Flashes of brilliance from the young midfielder but nothing concrete. A couple of good runs and a looping header straight at Thibaut Courtois. 5

Fabian Delph – Worked hard and slotted in well both in midfield during the first half and at left-wingback in the second. 5

Danny Rose – Caught napping as he failed to track Meunier’s run to the back post for the opener. He let the right-wingback in on another occasion as well and was hooked at half-time. 3

Harry Kane – Looked well off the pace again and a shadow of the fearsome striker he can be. Was caught on his heels as a few decent deliveries passed him by. Incredibly, he’ll probably win the Golden Boot. 3

Raheem Sterling – Tried to make inroads by running at the defence but often wound up losing possession. Teed up Kane on one occasion but the striker shot wide. 5

SUBS

Marcus Rashford – Didn’t have the desired impact as his decision-making was disappointing. 4

Jesse Lingard – Injected a little zip into England’s passing initially before slumping into the ponderous tempo along with the others. 5

Dele Alli – Came on in the closing stages and didn’t see much of the ball. N/A

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Belgium player ratings as Real Madrid target Eden Hazard shines with an 8 in win over England

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Belgium clinched third place at the World Cup as they beat England 2-0 in the third-place play-off in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

The Red Devils made an early breakthrough as Thomas Meunier opened the scoring in the fourth minute.

Eden Hazard doubled the lead in the 82nd minute to secure Belgium’s best-ever finish at a World Cup.

Here, we rate the England players.

STARTING XI

Thibaut Courtois – Had a few routine saves to make and while he was beaten by Eric Dier’s chip, the ball was cleared off the line to maintain his clean sheet. 6

Toby Alderweireld – Made that excellent clearance to deny Dier. Stood his ground well against the likes of Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. 6

Vincent Kompany – Was left for dead on one occasion as Dier broke free. Solid otherwise, making a game-high eight clearances.

Jan Vertonghen – Solid at both centre-back and then left-wingback, making seven clearances. 6

Thomas Meunier – Was a threat going forward as he scored the first goal and went close on a couple of other occasions, drawing a superb save from Jordan Pickford with a second-half volley. 8

Youri Tielemans – Kept it simple with his passing and restricted England’s midfielders. 5

Alex Witsel – Anchored the midfield calmly, making a few tackles and was safe with his passing. Picked up an unnecessary booking. 5

Nacer Chadli – Was good going forward and provided the assist to make the early breakthrough. Had to go off injured towards the end of the first half. 6

Kevin De Bruyne – Had all the time on the ball to drive forward and pick his pass which he did repeatedly. Assisted Hazard for the second but should’ve had a couple more to his name. 8

Eden Hazard – A constant threat in attack, dribbling past players for fun and coming alive on the counter. Took his goal expertly. 8

Romelu Lukaku – Had a couple of glorious opportunities to add to his four goals at the tournament but his touch let him down. 4

SUBS

Thomas Vermaelen – Drafted into centre-back at the end of the first half and had a largely comfortable outing. 6

Dries Mertens – Replaced Lukaku on the hour mark but wasted a few promising positions as well. 5

Mousa Dembele – Came on for the last 10 minutes and saw the game out. N/A

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