England’s hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Nations League Finals were ended as Gareth Southgate’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat to Belgium.
The Three Lions knew they would likely have to claim all three points against the number one ranked team in international football to keep alive their chances of finishing top of League A Group 2, but such an outcome was beyond them.
It took Belgium just 10 minutes to take the lead, with the hosts pouncing on a loose pass by Eric Dier. Romelu Lukaku fed Youri Tielemens and the Leicester City midfielder found the back of the net via a deflection and the inside of the post.
Dries Mertens doubled Belgium’s lead in spectacular style, although there was some doubt over the award of the freekick from which the Napoli attacker whipped a freekick past Jordan Pickford.
Southgate introduced Harry Winks for Jordan Henderson at half time in an attempt to change the dynamic of the match, with England taking more control of the contest as a result. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho were also thrown on, but Belgian had little trouble seeing out the game.
The result leaves England third in UEFA Nations League League A Group 2 on seven points, five points off Belgium and three off Denmark, with just one last fixture against Iceland left to play on Wednesday.