Belgium defeated England 2-0 in their third-place play-off at the St Petersburg stadium.
Thomas Meunier gave Belgium an early lead while Eden Hazard ensured victory with his goal in the 82nd minute.
After rueful losses to finalists, France and Croatia in the semifinals, Belgium and England squared off for some consolation to take back home.
Belgium took an early lead four minutes into the encounter, defender Meunier running beyond Danny Rose to get on the end of Nacir Chadli’s cross, slotting beyond Pickford’s outstretched leg to finish off a counter attack, becoming the 10th different scorer for Belgium at Russia 2018. De Bruyne forced Pickford into a brilliant one-handed save from 12 yards out eight minutes later, while Lukaku could not sort his feet when free on goal in the 20th minute as Belgium dominated a rather sleepy England.
The Three Lions should have levelled the encounter through captain Harry Kane, who, prior to this losers’ final, talked about the England players being hurt and demoralized due to the defeat to Croatia. The Tottenham striker was found centrally just inside the area by Raheem Sterling, but the World Cup’s highest goalscorer fluffed his lines and disappointingly shot wide. England have scored most of their goals through crosses, and Harry Maguire almost continued the trend, heading a corner kick straight at Courtois.
England brought on both Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford after the break and they looked livelier, the former getting on the end of a quick long throw to volley just wide from inside the area. They continued to up the tempo and went one step further to an equalizer on 70 minutes through Eric Dier following some surprisingly lovely interplay. The midfielder exchanged passes with Loftus-Cheek and the return ball freed him beyond the Belgium defence and he dinked the ball beyond Courtouis, but Toby Alderweireld cleared off the line. Two more opportunities were created for Dier and Maguire, but Belgium almost caught them out on the counter, Dries Mertens curling well wide. With England further forward, another counter cut their defence to shreds but Pickford produced a brilliant one-hand save to deny Meunier from a well-struck volley. The Everton goalkeeper could do nothing about Hazard’s goal moments later on 82 minutes, converting at the near post after being picked out by De Bruyne.
The final whistle came as a relief for a deflated England team who failed in their mission to take football back home, while the third-place finish is scant consolation for a Belgium team who mesmerised in Russia and scored 16 goals, the highest by any country at the 2018 World Cup.