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Belgium v England Live Commentary, 15/11/2020

FT
2 - 0
BEL
ENG
Y. Tielemans (10)
D. Mertens (24)
King Power at Den Dreef Stadion

Commentary

England prepare to host Iceland in a few days' time then in what will be a dead rubber. For Belgium, their Nations League dream continues. Maybe their time has finally come. That's all for now. Goodbye!
Belgium's victory means they will play Denmark on Wednesday to decide who will go to the Nations League Finals. The Danes have beaten Iceland 2-1 in Group A2's other game. England sit third in the group now, five points behind Belgium and out. Southgate's side have got plenty of potential but will win nothing until they find the way to edge big games like these.
Belgium have knocked England out of the Nations League! Belgium have shown their class by seeing England off without really getting out of second gear. The hosts went 2-0 up in the opening half hour, somewhat fortuitously, and hunkered down after that. England huffed and puffed a lot but never came that close to scoring.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: BELGIUM 2-0 ENGLAND
90' + 3' Winks is over-eager in closing down Witsel in Belgium's defensive third. Witsel wisely takes his time in getting up. That looks like it will be all!
90' + 1' Three more minutes of this. Lukaku breaks away on the counter-attack and looks to get his name on the scoresheet, only to fire wide from the edge of the box.
90' England pass and pass to no avail. Belgium have defended brilliantly. England have been positionally on top for most of the game but have only had three shots on target, as many as Belgium have had.
88' Kane receives the ball in the penalty area but finds himself crowded out by three Belgium defenders near the byline, forcing him to pass to no one. Calvert-Lewin hasn't been able to get into the game since coming on.
86' Belgium are getting a few more shots away now. First Lukaku's effort is blocked, then De Bruyne pings the ball wide to Witsel who fires over from inside the box.
85' It just isn't England's game here. Kane rolls the ball out wide to Sancho who's in acres of space. Sancho goes for goal but yet again a Belgium defender arrives to block his chance on goal.
84' Saka sends the ball down the line for Rice. His cross is cleared. England try again and Saka's low cross finds Kane. Kane's snapshot in the six-yard box is blocked.
D. Praet
D. Mertens
Belgium
83' Belgium substitution. Praet replaces the goalscorer Mertens.
81' Walker's high cross from the right finds his way into the arms of Courtois. Belgium can't hold onto the ball though, leading Kane to beat a few Belgium defenders and lets rip from the edge of the box. The shot whistles just wide.
80' Belgium see out the corner. They haven't been dominant at any stage in this game really, but they haven't needed to be. All they've needed to do since taking the lead is soak up England pressure which they've done extremely well.
78' England's change of formation seems to have given Belgium more space. Lukaku jinks towards goal but can't create anything. Up the other end, Kane's cross from the left for Calvert-Lewin is blocked and loops over the crossbar for a corner to England.
76' Chance for Belgium! With his back to goal, Lukaku plays a wonderful flick out wide to Mertens. Mertens returns the favour and Pickford saves Lukaku's shot which is heading for the bottom left corner! Had England conceded there, it really would have been curtains. As things stand, they're still alive but really need a goal soon.
75' England get a free-kick down their left. Saka swings it in and Courtois punches it away.
74' Belgium knock the ball around for the first time in a while only for Rice to steal possession. Rice throws his hands up in frustration as he slightly overcooks the pass to Grealish, sending the Aston Villa man further wide than he planned.
72' It looks like England have switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Grealish left, Sancho right, and Kane up front alongside Calvert-Lewin. Kane's scuffed shot makes its way to Sancho but Hazard prevents the Borussia Dortmund winger from getting a shot away.
J. Sancho
K. Trippier
England
70' Next off is Trippier who hasn't done too much wrong. Sancho is on for him.
D. Calvert-Lewin
M. Mount
England
69' England make a few more changes. The Everton striker Calvert-Lewin is on for the quietly efficient Mount.
68' Walker combines with Trippier but loses out just outside Belgium's box. Grealish, by the way, has been fouled seven times in this game – the most by an England player since Kane's bruising by Colombia at the 2018 World Cup.
67' Saka's cross from the left is blocked. England throw-in. England work the ball inside to Walker whose smashed shot from distance is charged down.
65' Kane decides to go it alone, taking on Belgium's defence by himself and nearly succeeding until he's crowded out. Trippier's thankfully back on the pitch now.
64' Trippier is conscious and having his right eye wiped by the physios. He should be fine to continue once he gets patched up. Play continues for now.
62' England survive some slack play at the back to go on the attack again. They soon put the ball out of play as Trippier gets caught in the face by a trailing foot from Hazard as the Belgium wing-back topples over. Trippier's still down. It looks like a nasty one.
60' Grealish dances this way and that to the left of the penalty area before finally cutting inside on his right foot and curling an effort just over the crossbar. England have had 68 per cent possession so far in this half.
58' Grealish, playing down the right for England now, beats Mertens for pace and is blocked off by the winger. Grealish is catching the eye every time he is on the ball.
57' Chance for England! Mount's backheel finds Kane on the edge of the box. Kane strikes it first-time but it's straight down the middle at Courtois who claims it. England are getting closer.
56' England get their 11th free-kick of the game as Denayer nudges Kane in the back near the centre circle. Belgium have been good at stopping England with a lot of niggly little fouls.
54' Belgium's defensive wall does its job as again England's free-kick is poor. The Belgians are finding themselves under growing pressure though.
T. Meunier
Yellow Card
Belgium
54' Meunier trips Grealish just to the left of the penalty area and will miss Belgium's next match. It briefly looked like a penalty.
52' The answer to that last question is not very much. Mount's free-kick is always rising and blazes way over from the crossbar. Still, England are starting to worry Belgium.
T. Alderweireld
Yellow Card
Belgium
51' Alderweireld is booked for shoving Kane over as the England striker bore down on the box. What can England make of this?
51' Winks plays the ball forward for Kane whose round-the-corner pass for Mount almost finds its intended target. Courtois arrives on the scene just in time to quell the chance.
49' Winks tries a throughball down the middle for Kane but Denayer is alert and cuts it out. Presumably Winks has been brought on to try to unlock Belgium's stubborn defence.
47' The footballing Terminator De Bruyne powers towards the box and drags a shot wide of the left-hand post. England will start leaving more gaps the longer they have to chase the game, which they do have to.
46' England get the second half going, knowing they need a draw to stay in the Nations League. The last time England went in at half-time 2-0 down was way back in August 2009 in a friendly against the Netherlands. They came back to draw 2-2. Will history repeat itself here?
H. Winks
J. Henderson
England
46' England make a change at half-time. Winks comes on to replace Henderson. It seems tactical rather than due to injury.
Belgium scored with both of their only shots on target in that first half. England had seven shots, five inside the box, only to find themselves denied by wayward shooting or great defending. It'll be interesting to see how England respond in the second half. A quick goal for Southgate's men would make this game very interesting indeed.
Belgium go in at the break two goals to the good thanks to Tielemans and Mertens' long-range strikes. England can feel slightly unlucky to be behind, given that the hosts have created little else. The visitors have been the more enterprising side going forward but Belgium have been solid at the back.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: BELGIUM 2-0 ENGLAND
45' + 2' Grealish looks to play a one-two with Kane but goes down on the edge of the box. The referee isn't interested in giving the free-kick. That'll be that for now.
45' Kane takes a pass into the box from Mount and shoots for goal from a tight angle on the left, forcing Courtois to make a stop at his near post. Trippier sends the corner in but Mount can't get his header on target. There'll be two additional minutes here.
A. Witsel
Yellow Card
Belgium
44' Witsel is booked for a late challenge on Kane. It's the first yellow card in what's been a fairly clean game so far.
42' Lukaku darts down the right-hand channel into the box but finds his path to goal blocked by Mings. Lukaku spots De Bruyne arriving on the scene and looks to pass to the midfielder but Henderson spots the danger and plays the ball off De Bruyne for a goal-kick.
41' Mertens decides to have a crack from over 35 yards out. It ends predictably with the ball going wide.
40' Saka receives the ball deep on the left and lofts a speculative cross into the box for Kane. Unfortunately, it's telegraphed a little too much to Courtois, who claims it comfortably.
38' It looks like Chilwell will have to go off here. England's left wing-back is holding his back. It looks precautionary as Chilwell leaves the field unaided but it's still a blow for the visitors. They've already had a few in this first half.
B. Saka
B. Chilwell
England
38' England substitution. Saka replaces the stricken Chilwell at left wing-back.
37' Lukaku drops deep to pass to De Bruyne and De Bruyne goes for an ambitious cross-field pass to Hazard who's bombing down the left flank. Belgium's left-back only just fails to keep the ball in play.
36' Chilwell goes down at the side of the pitch to receive some treatment. Both teams take the chance to grab some water after a busy start to the game. Chilwell is soon back on his feet.
34' England continue to look purposeful. Kane plays a lovely flick out to Grealish down the left. Grealish reaches the byline and cuts back for Mount who can't keep his volley down.
32' England methodically work the ball down the right and Denayer steps in to prevent the omnipresent Grealish from getting a shot away. Belgium have defended well in this opening half hour.
30' Mings shrugs off the attention of Lukaku to keep England moving. Walker tries to beat Denayer with a cheeky backheel flick but it doesn't pay off. England look determined to get back into this game quickly.
28' England are losing but looked more incisive than Belgium on the attack. Walker crosses from the right and Alderweireld slides in to prevent it reaching Grealish. Belgium manage to clear the resulting England corner.
27' England have conceded two goals from outside the box in one game for the first time since June 2017 against Scotland. No shame in being behind to two beauties, but England will be smarting nonetheless.
25' England may be two goals down but they really haven't done a whole lot wrong. Belgium have just been ruthless. There's a reason the hosts are ranked the best side in the world at the moment.
D. Mertens
Goal
Belgium
24' GOAL! BELGIUM 2-0 ENGLAND! This Belgium side really are clinical. Mertens steps up and curls the free-kick beautifully into the bottom left corner. Pickford dives but there's nothing he can do about it.
23' De Bruyne is just about to put his foot through a half-volley on the edge of the box when Rice steams in to block. Belgium now have a free-kick in a dangerous position to the left of the D.
22' Grealish goes down under pressure from, Witsel and ends up winning the free-kick. England soon lose the ball again as Henderson's pass for Kane goes astray.
20' Belgium have the lead but England have looked well up for the game in these opening 20 minutes. Belgium are keeping the ball a lot but aren't creating very much with it.
18' Just a bit more on Tielemans. He has three goals in his last five games for club and country combined now, as many as he did in his previous 46 games beforehand. The Leicester man's enjoying a nice purple patch.
17' De Bruyne's corner is aimed for the edge of the box but Tielemans can do little more than keep possession from it. England won't be too fussed by that.
15' De Bruyne and Meunier combine again to force a corner given away by Dier. There's an exciting pace to this game so far.
13' England don't look too disheartened about being a goal behind. They beat Belgium from a similar position just last month after all. Grealish drifts inside to have a pop from distance and Alderweireld gets in the way again.
11' England come roaring back quickly. Trippier crosses in from the right and Alderweireld makes a well-timed block of Grealish's shot. England take the corner and Lukaku heads Kane's header out of play with Courtois seemingly beaten. Courtois eases the pressure by easily catching the second England corner.
Y. Tielemans
Goal
Belgium
10' GOAL! BELGIUM 1-0 ENGLAND! Tielemans gives Belgium the lead with a long-range strike! Dier's pass out from the back is sloppy and Belgium pounce with Lukaku laying off to Tielemans. The Leicester man lets rip from outside the box, it deflects off Mings and it bounces off the right-hand post and in!
R. Lukaku
Assist
Belgium
10' Lukaku claims the assist for that goal but credit to Tielemans for the strike. He hit it very sweetly indeed.
9' Meunier works the ball inside to De Bruyne but the Man City midfielder's exchange with Lukaku doesn't work out. Belgium have a rather intimidating team, it has to be said.
7' Belgium are enjoying the possession early on as the game starts to settle down. England know they'll have to be patient and pick their chances carefully.
5' Denayer clips the heels of Grealish as the England man pops a pass to a teammate. It's good to see the Aston Villa man getting a prolonged spell in an England shirt. The foul leads to nothing as Belgium win a free-kick from the ball in.
3' England's captain Kane gets the first shot of the game, dragging a shot wide of the left-hand post from outside the box. Southgate applauds his players' early intent.
2' Belgium go straight onto the attack from the kick-off. De Bruyne powers through the centre and feeds Meunier wide right. Dier punts Meunier's cross clear.
1' England get this game underway!
The two sides are out on the pitch in Leuven and stand for their countries' respective national anthems. Belgium's has a bit more pep to it. Let's see if that pep makes its way onto the pitch for the hosts.
Belgium have suffered just one defeat in their last 16 matches across all competitions, although that was against England at Wembley last month. In fact, the hosts are unbeaten in their last 23 home games since losing to Spain in September 2016. Kane is now the 62nd player to reach 50 caps for England, with his 32 goals in those caps only bettered by Jimmy Greaves' 43. If Kane can channel his recent form for Tottenham here, England have a chance.
Both sides bring back their big guns after giving their squad players a runout in their friendlies mid-week. Belgium make nine changes from their 2-1 victory over Switzerland, while there are eight changes to England from their 3-0 win against the Republic of Ireland. Pickford returns in goal; Mings, Mount, and Grealish keep their places; and Harry Maguire is suspended after his sending-off against Denmark last month.
SUBS: Bukayo Saka, Nick Pope, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Michael Keane, Jadon Sancho, Dean Henderson, Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham, Tammy Abraham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harry Winks.
ENGLAND (3-4-3): Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Tyrone Mings; Kieran Trippier, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Ben Chilwell; Mason Mount, Harry Kane (c), Jack Grealish.
SUBS: Dodi Lukebakio, Michy Batshuayi, Hannes Delcroix, Yari Verschaeren, Brandon Mechele, Hans Vanaken, Nacer Chadli, Simon Mignolet, Thomas Foket, Dennis Praet, Koen Casteels, Christian Benteke.
BELGIUM (3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Toby Alderweireld, Jason Denayer, Jan Vertonghen (c); Thomas Meunier, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans, Thorgan Hazard; Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku. Kevin De Bruyne.
After last month's come-from-behind victory, Gareth Southgate's England arrive in Belgium knowing they realistically need another win to topple Belgium from the top of the group. England have recorded back-to-back wins over their hosts twice before, back in 1999 and 2012. Belgium are a different proposition these days, of course. A result for the visitors will not come easy.
Belgium welcome England for a competitive match for the first time in history in what is likely to be a pivotal match to decide the winner of Group A2. In their boss' 50th match in charge, Roberto Martinez's world number ones will be looking to avenge their 2-1 defeat at Wembley last month.
Hello! Welcome to our live text commentary of this UEFA Nations League Group A2 match between Belgium and England at Den Dreef.