Harry Kane, Danny Rose disappoint as England come up empty in third-place game
Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard scored the goals as Belgium convincingly beat England 2-0 to secure victory in the World Cup third-place match.
England created chances to cancel out Meunier's early opener in an entertaining second half in St. Petersburg, but Hazard provided a clinical finish to a counterattack to secure Belgium's most successful-ever World Cup campaign.
The mere fact that England made it to St. Petersburg should be a source of great pride, even if they were ultimately outclassed. Gareth Southgate's more youthful lineup also caused Belgium one or two problems in the second half, and Harry Kane will surely be more energised in future tournaments.
Belgium showed England just how far away they are from true contention at major tournaments. Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne were a class above anything Southgate's men had to offer, and at times the gulf in midfield quality was laughably wide.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Southgate made five changes from the Croatia defeat, largely governed by player fitness, and his refreshing of the lineup had mixed results. Danny Rose and Phil Jones were liabilities defensively, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Eric Dier had good moments. England's manager has achieved much and has much still to do.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jordan Pickford, 6 -- Romelu Lukaku's wayward first touches ensured he was not tested as much as he should have been. Was left hopelessly exposed for Meunier's early opener but did nothing to disgrace himself at the end of what has been a spectacular World Cup personally.
DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- Got caught upfield by Nacer Chadli for Meunier's opener and was probably relieved when the West Brom man went off injured in the first half. At the other end his set-piece deliveries were consistently dangerous, enabling England to apply sustained pressure in the second half.
DF Phil Jones, 5 -- Looked understandably rusty and could not offer the kind of defensive insurance that Kyle Walker's lightning pace provides. Belgium's attacking movement caused him big problems, and Hazard made beating him look very easy for the decisive second goal.
DF John Stones, 7 -- England's defeat would have been far heavier without his numerous last-ditch blocks to prevent De Bruyne and Lukaku from testing Pickford, even if his reluctance to push up in support of Dier gave Belgium's creators too much space between the lines.
DF Harry Maguire, 6 -- Not his best defensive display, even if there is no shame in being tormented by Hazard and De Bruyne. Did at least use the ball proactively, particularly as England probed for an equaliser, and he always commanded
DF Danny Rose, 4 -- Lost track of Meunier inside four minutes for Belgium's opening goal, and it set the tone for the one-sided nature of the battle on that flank. Meunier picked his pocket and beat him to the byline repeatedly, providing dangerous crosses. Unsurprisingly hooked at half-time.
MF Eric Dier, 7 -- Looked almost certain to be overwhelmed in midfield as Belgium dominated the first half, and was not ambitious enough with his passing. Seemed to get the message in the second, however, when he started to pick the Belgian defence apart and saw a lovely dink cleared off the line by club teammate Toby Alderweireld
MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 6 -- Presents a unique matchup problem for opponents with his combination of pace and strength, and he repeatedly drove into good shooting or crossing positions. That said, his decision-making needs to improve, and there remains a sense that he doesn't fully trust his talent.
MF Fabian Delph, 6 -- Never a very progressive presence in midfield, and he actually looked more useful to England once he shifted to left wing-back after Rose's withdrawal. It's to his credit that much of Belgium's second-half threat came from the opposite flank.
FW Raheem Sterling, 6 -- His dribbling and movement made him England's biggest threat in an underwhelming first half, creating one good chance for Kane. His decision-making in the final third remains erratic, but he was unlucky not to be given more than 45 minutes to make an impact.
FW Harry Kane, 5 -- Has looked like a shell of himself for much of the knockout stage of this World Cup and never appeared likely to add to his goal tally here after screwing one shot wide in the first half. Tottenham will be hoping to give him as much rest as possible before the new Premier League season begins.
MF Jesse Lingard, 7 -- Injected some energy and urgency into England's attack when he was introduced at half-time, and also provided some unpredictability with his movement. England were left with very little to show from his efforts though.
FW Marcus Rashford, 6 -- Didn't get much chance to attack space with the Belgian defence determined to sit deep, and he doesn't quite have enough tricks to consistently beat his man one-on-one. He was also physically bullied at times.
MF Dele Alli N/R -- Came on for Loftus-Cheek on 84 minutes to provide fresh legs.
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.