England come back to beat Belgium, take top spot in Nations League group

England - Belgium
Photo by Ian Walton - Pool/Getty Images

England came back from an early deficit to beat FIFA-ranked world-no. 1 Belgium, 2-1, at Wembley Stadium and take over the top spot in UEFA Nations League A, Group 2 at the halfway point of group play.

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England started rather shakily before slowly but surely growing into the game, as Belgium were very nearly 2-0 ahead by the quarter-hour mark if not for an offside call wiping away the game’s opening goal. Yannick Carrasco smashed a far-post finish past Jordan Pickford, but the goal was taken off the board with a Belgian player ruled to have obstructed Pickford’s view of the ball from an offside position.

Belgium got their 1-0 lead just four minutes later, though, as Eric Dier needlessly cut down Romelu Lukaku inside the penalty area in the 15th minute. Dier was wrong side of Lukaku and had no chance of getting a touch on the ball, but Lukaku was pushed wide enough that he posed no threat to shoot or cross on his weaker right foot. Alas, Dier slid in from the side, and slightly behind, and it was an easy call to give the penalty. Lukaku stepped to the spot and put it away.

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England pulled level with a penalty kick of their own, though the penalty offense wasn’t as clear-cut as the one that came 23 minutes earlier. Jordan Henderson was pulled down by Thomas Meunier, but the Liverpool captain appeared to sell the obstruction quite well. Fresh off his MBE award from Queen Elizabeth II, Rashford stepped up to the spot and smashed the ensuing penalty kick past Simon Mignolet.

The Three Lions’ winner was far more fortuitous than brilliant worked, but all goals count exactly the same. Trent Alexander-Arnold sent a cross to fellow full back Kieran Trippier, who nodded it down for Mount to strike off the toe of Toby Alderweireld for a wicked deception of Mignolet.

With three games played, England sit atop the group with seven points. Belgium trail by a single point and will get their shot at revenge on Nov. 15.

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