Saturday, July 14, 2018

Third and fourth best of Europe (and the world)

Belgium ended in third place after defeating England 2-0 in the bronze match of the World Cup. This is the best result of Belgium in a World Cup ever, following their fourth place finish in 1986. So Belgium can be proud of this despite the fact that they probably expected and deserved more. They end the tournament with an impressive record of six victories and only one defeat (the semifinal defeat to France), as well as probably the most scoring team of the tournament with 16 goals (unless Croatia or France respectively score 4 or 6 goals in the final).
Belgium has a lot to be proud of from this World Cup.
England is also proud of a team that had low expectations and that made it to fourth place, the best English result since 1990, when they ended in the same place. Their record is nevertheless more mixed: They ended with three victories (against Panama, Tunisia and Sweden), one penalty victory (over Colombia) and three defeats (two to Belgium and one to Croatia). On paper this is not overly impressive as one has the impression that England's only true test was against Croatia. But it will certainly be interesting to watch England's youngsters (who surely have great talent and potential) in the future. In the meantime, unless extraordinary things happen in the final, Harry Kane will end up as the top goalscorer of the tournament with six goals, being only the second Englishman ever to achieve this honour, following the great Gary Lineker in 1986.

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