Belfast Telegraph

Past meetings with Belgium give England cause for optimism

England take on Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday as the pair do battle at the World Cup to determine who will progress as winners of Group G.This will be the fourth meeting of the two nations at a major tournament, with all previous games proving to be tight affairs.Here, Press Association Sport looks at the …

England take on Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday as the pair do battle at the World Cup to determine who will progress as winners of Group G.

This will be the fourth meeting of the two nations at a major tournament, with all previous games proving to be tight affairs.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the previous three encounters ahead of the next meeting.

1954 World Cup – Group Stage – England 4 Belgium 4 (after extra-time)

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Nat Lofthouse scored two of his 30 England goals in a 4-4 draw with Belgium. (PA Archive)

Playing in just their second World Cup, Walter Winterbottom’s England enjoyed an enthralling start to the finals in Switzerland.

Groups had four teams of two seeds and two unseeded nations, with each side only playing twice.

Matches at the group stages also went to extra-time in the hopes of finding a winner but England and Belgium could still not be separated after two hours.

Newcastle’s Ivor Broadis and Nat Lofthouse of Bolton both scored a brace but the latter’s fourth goal in extra-time was cancelled out by a Jimmy Dickinson own goal to earn the Belgians a share of the spoils.

Euro 1980 – Group Stage – Belgium 1 England 1

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Ray Wilkins scored a superb lob to give England the lead against Belgium in Italy. (Peter Robinson/EMPICS)

Once again, England opened their campaign against Belgium – and once again the pair could not be separated.

Ray Wilkins gave the Three Lions the lead in Turin with another memorable solo strike only for Jan Ceulemans to level for Belgium just three minutes later.

Neither side could find a winner and Ron Greenwood’s England failed to get out of the group after losing to Italy in their next game.

Belgium went on to progress as winners of Group 2 and reached the final, only to lose 2-1 to West Germany in Rome.

1990 World Cup – last 16 – England 1 Belgium 0 (aet)

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David Platt hit a stunning last-minute winner to take England to the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup (Peter Robinson/EMPICS)

Undoubtedly one of England’s most famous World Cup results as David Platt came off the bench to score a superb winner in the last minute of extra-time as another draw between the pair loomed.

With penalties looking inevitable after Belgium had hit the post twice during the tie, Platt turned and volleyed home a terrific strike from Paul Gascoigne’s disguised free-kick.

England had narrowly beaten Egypt 1-0 to progress having drawn their opening two games in Group F to set up a tie with the Red Devils in Bologna.

Bobby Robson’s side would go on to beat Cameroon 3-2 in the quarter-finals before falling to eventual winners West Germany on penalties in the final four.

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