It isn’t what they wanted, but it’s still better than expected. Belgium and England will meet in Russia for the second time, this time with a bronze medal on the line. Both teams fell just one goal short of reaching the final, but it’s still an exciting battle between two young sides loaded with talent.
What’s really important is that we get one more big match in Russia, and one more exciting match to bet on. Much like the first meeting, the Red Devils are the odds favorite.
Belgium vs. England: Odds
Here are the latest odds, straight from 5Dimes:
England PK +130
Belgium PK -150
Can we at least get a real game between these teams?
When Belgium and England met in the group stage finale, both teams were simply trying to stay healthy. Both had secured passage to the next round by beating up on Tunisia and Costa Rica, but a winner needed to be determined to crown a Group Winner. Adnan Januzaj decided the score in the second half, putting Belgium atop the group.
Belgium won the match, but it might have been to the benefit on England. While England ran through Colombia, Sweden and Croatia to the final, Belgium dealt with Japan, Brazil and France. Belgium knocking off one of the tournament favorites is an accomplishment in it’s own right, but it’s hard to imagine England having the same success.
That being said, the Three Lions have been surprising in this tournament. It did involve a narrow win over Sweden and a shootout win over James-less Colombia, but it’s well-established that England surpassed expectations in Russia. Where they really excelled is on set pieces, where all but two of their goals in Russia were scored.
There’s also a side race going on in this match, as Harry Kane looks to lock up the Golden Boot. He’s atop the board with six goals in Russia, and the closest remaining player is Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku with four. It’s not impossible for Lukaku to get two, and stop Kane from being the first Englishman to win the award since Gary Lineker in 1986.
If there’s one pattern between the remaining teams in Russia, it’s outstanding goalkeeping. Saturday’s match is no different, as Thibaut Courtois and Jordan Pickford have been as good as it gets over the last month.
While it’ll certainly be more exciting than the first time they met, I don’t expect much scoring. England have been all bark and no bite outside of set pieces, and I expect Belgium to perform as well as they have been doing, which would have been good enough to reach the final on England’s side of the bracket. The only thing that concerns me is that these teams were aiming so high that the substitutes come out for this one again. How can you play two meaningless World Cup matches against the same team?
Early Prediction: 2-0 Belgium
Belgium vs. England: Date, Time & Location
England will take on Belgium in the World Cup third-place match on July 14th at 10 a.m. Eastern. The match will be held at Saint Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, and will air on Fox and Telemundo in the United States. Saint Petersburg is where Belgium were knocked off by France earlier this week.