(Belgium-England 2-0) Dries Mertens (33) cannon goal after only 24 minutes was such a powerful shot for England’s bow that Gareth Southgate’s team never managed to straighten the ship in the decisive group game in the Nations League.
– The goalkeeper did not have a chance, commented Sky Sport expert Jamie Carragher immediately after Mertens had “twisted” 2-0 for Belgium – number one in the Fifa rankings and at the top of the table in Nations League group A2 before the settlement in Leuvens .
Dries Mertens grew up right next to the stadium where he putted in front of coronatomme stands in Belgium’s – in parentheses discussed – free kick. A small “banana” over England’s somewhat jump-passive wall, and the ball then dropped abruptly towards goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s right corner. The Everton goalkeeper stretched all he could, but was still a long way from stopping the whistle from Napoli’s notorious goal thief.
Then you should have noticed Youri Tielemans (23) 10 minutes earlier had pushed in the match’s first goal from right in front of the 16-meter. Wrong turn Romelu Lukaku passed the ball to Tielemans, who advanced and with his right foot shot it via an English defensive leg, Pickford’s left post and into goal.
Roberto Martinez could not have had a better start to his 50th match as Belgium’s national team manager, Gareth Southgate, for his part, could certainly have wished for a more uplifting start to England’s “must win” match.
England pushed forward a couple of free kicks on their way into Belgium’s box at the beginning of the second half, and the Belgians incurred a couple of yellow cards as a result. However, the ability to take care of the goal opportunities was not of all world quality.
Aston Villas Jack Grealish excelled, as did Tottenham’s Harry Kane in his 50th international. England took an eager grip and got a certain grip on the events, but Belgium did not let themselves be swayed by the stick. Contrary to what they did last month, when England turned 0-1 in the first half to a 2-1 victory in the second.
Kieran Trippier was the replacement. Gareth Southgate replaced him with Jadon Sancho with 20 minutes left. Dominic Calvert-Lewin came on for Mason Mount. But despite extra offensive will, it still would not be for England.
– Belgium shows signs of riding the storm, Sky Sports commented Martin Tyler about then.
On the other hand, Romelu Lukaku’s play was disheartening. 3 – 0 was the score after the first half.