Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount were on target as England leapfrogged Belgium in League A Group Two with a narrow victory over Roberto Martinez’s side at Wembley.
Gareth Southgate made nine changes to the side that defeated Wales on Thursday night, with Kieran Trippier and debut goalscorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin the only survivors.
Despite making a bright start to the game, England found themselves behind with just 16 minutes on the clock courtesy of Romelu Lukaku, who slotted a confident penalty past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after he was upended by Eric Dier. Yannick Carrasco had a goal chalked off for offside just five minutes earlier, as the adventurous Belgium threatened to run riot.
England drew level against the run of play before the half-time whistle, with Rashford emphatically scoring from the spot following Thomas Meunier’s foul on Jordan Henderson.
The half-time scoreline hardly reflected the performances though, as England’s back-three struggled with the movement and physicality of Lukaku, while in the absence of Jack Grealish, failed to threaten in attack.
But the England boss made a small tweak or two at the break which prompted an immediate improvement, and they got their reward in the 64th-minute when Mount’s deflected effort gave England the lead.
Carrasco may have restored parity after a beautiful Kevin De Bruyne pass, but England had chances of their own, with substitute Harry Kane and Rashford both spurning gilt-edged opportunities late on. In the end it mattered little as Southgate’s side continued their unbeaten run this calendar year to move atop of the group with seven points after three games played, with Belgium a point behind.