Mount Mason Winner Raises England Over Belgium
Belgium took a lead their initial superiority deserved when Romelu Lukaku sent England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the wrong way after the forward was brought down by a poor tackle from Eric Dier.
England were on the defensive for most of the first half but were given the lifeline back six minutes before halftime when captain Jordan Henderson went down very easily in a fight with Thomas Meunier, Marcus Rashford scored from the point.
Gareth Southgate’s team enjoyed much more possession after the break, but needed a huge chunk of luck to take the lead in the 64th minute, when Mason Mount’s effort deflected Toby Alderweireld and passed goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to inflict the first Belgium defeat since November 2018.
England were in second place until they received a rather mild penalty when Henderson fell to a challenge from Meunier, but the way they rallied after the break to subdue this talented Belgian side deserves great credit.
Southgate’s team was very conservative in the game’s opening spell, as was their team selection, but the manager will say that the end result justified the means, although this was a game where both sides also lost key people. .
England remained strong behind and resolute, limiting Belgium to a clear opening after the break when Yannick Carrasco threw a brilliant pass from Kevin de Bruyne inches from the far post.
Goalkeeper Pickford, who kept Southgate’s faith despite Everton’s poor form, did not come under great pressure, but above all he did what he had to do competently, with a save in the first half of the shot. De Bruyne low and a couple of good maneuvers.
The big picture, in addition to putting England on top of Group A2, is that this is a victory that will give Southgate real satisfaction, as it is the kind of game against elite rivals in which his team has failed in in the past, especially when they lost twice to Belgium in the 2018 World Cup, in the group stage and in the play-off for third place.