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WAGs support England's lions as they set about fighting for third place in World Cup 2018



Belgium 1-0 England: England fall behind in the fourth minute of third place play-off against Belgium as both teams battle to finish World Cup campaign with a victory... after devastating disappointment in the semi-finals

  • Gareth Southgate's side face Belgium in St Petersburg four days after their heartbreaking semi-final defeat 
  • Belgian defender Thomas Meunier turned in Nacer Chadli's cross to put his side ahead after just four minutes
  • A win in the bronze medal game would secure England's highest World Cup ranking since their 1966 victory
  • England have made five changes to the side but left Kane up front as the captain chases the Golden Boot  
  • Fern Hawkins, Rebekah Vardy and Nicky Pike watched the action in England's last game of the tournament 

By Tim Stickings For Mailonline

Published: 07:47 EDT, 14 July 2018 | Updated: 11:20 EDT, 14 July 2018

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England are chasing an equaliser in their final World Cup fixture after a dominant Belgium side took the lead after just four minutes of the third-place playoff. 

The Three Lions are chasing the bronze medal in St Petersburg just days after their heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Croatia as they look to end their stirring World Cup campaign on a high. 

Full-back Thomas Meunier put Belgium in front with four minutes on the clock, sliding in ahead of Danny Rose to beat England keeper Jordan Pickford after Nacer Chadli's cross from the left-hand side.

Gareth Southgate's team were under pressure for most of the first half with Jordan Pickford forced into an impressive save from Kevin de Bruyne while Harry Kane squandered England's best chance. 

Fern Hawkins, the fiancee of popular player Harry Maguire, has led the cheers for England, posting on Instagram this morning with a picture of a shirt and the caption: 'Game Day'. Rebekah Vardy, whose wife Jamie was once again on the bench, posted a picture of the stadium, saying: 'Final Game'.  

Southgate made five changes for today's game, bringing Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Eric Dier, Phil Jones, Danny Rose and Fabian Delph into the starting XI, but left Kane up front as the captain looks to secure the Golden Boot.

Victory today would secure England's highest World Cup finish since the triumph in 1966 and their highest ever on foreign soil. Defeat would leave England in fourth place, matching their 1990 achievement. 

1-0: Belgium's Thomas Meunier sticks out his right foot to put Belgium in front as Danny Rose dives in for England 
1-0: Belgium's Thomas Meunier sticks out his right foot to put Belgium in front as Danny Rose dives in for England 

1-0: Belgium's Thomas Meunier sticks out his right foot to put Belgium in front as Danny Rose dives in for England 

Meunier turns away to celebrate his early goal while Danny Rose and Jordan Pickford look furious in the six-yard box
Meunier turns away to celebrate his early goal while Danny Rose and Jordan Pickford look furious in the six-yard box

Meunier turns away to celebrate his early goal while Danny Rose and Jordan Pickford look furious in the six-yard box

Pickford is helpless to stop Meunier's shot after just four minutes of the World Cup third-place playoff in St Petersburg 
Pickford is helpless to stop Meunier's shot after just four minutes of the World Cup third-place playoff in St Petersburg 

Pickford is helpless to stop Meunier's shot after just four minutes of the World Cup third-place playoff in St Petersburg 

Belgium players celebrate after Thomas Meunier's goal gave them an early lead in the third-place playoff against England 
Belgium players celebrate after Thomas Meunier's goal gave them an early lead in the third-place playoff against England 

Belgium players celebrate after Thomas Meunier's goal gave them an early lead in the third-place playoff against England 

Rebekah Vardy watches the action as England line up for their last game of the 2018 World Cup in Russia 
Rebekah Vardy watches the action as England line up for their last game of the 2018 World Cup in Russia 

Rebekah Vardy watches the action as England line up for their last game of the 2018 World Cup in Russia 

Rebekah Vardy puts on a denim jacket as she watches England's third-place playoff against Belgium in St Petersburg 
Rebekah Vardy puts on a denim jacket as she watches England's third-place playoff against Belgium in St Petersburg 

Rebekah Vardy puts on a denim jacket as she watches England's third-place playoff against Belgium in St Petersburg 

Fern Hawkins, fiancee of England's Harry Maguire, waves from the stands as Southgate's side take on Belgium today 
Fern Hawkins, fiancee of England's Harry Maguire, waves from the stands as Southgate's side take on Belgium today 

Fern Hawkins, fiancee of England's Harry Maguire, waves from the stands as Southgate's side take on Belgium today 

England manager Gareth Southgate stands in the dugout as he watches his side take on Belgium in St Petersburg 
England manager Gareth Southgate stands in the dugout as he watches his side take on Belgium in St Petersburg 

England manager Gareth Southgate stands in the dugout as he watches his side take on Belgium in St Petersburg 

England and Belgium players line up for the national anthems as the World Cup third-place playoff gets underway today 
England and Belgium players line up for the national anthems as the World Cup third-place playoff gets underway today 

England and Belgium players line up for the national anthems as the World Cup third-place playoff gets underway today 

England fans hold up a flag as they arrive to watch the third-place playoff against Belgium at Flat Iron Square, London 
England fans hold up a flag as they arrive to watch the third-place playoff against Belgium at Flat Iron Square, London 

England fans hold up a flag as they arrive to watch the third-place playoff against Belgium at Flat Iron Square, London 

Before the game England players were seen speaking to Belgian club team-mates, as Tottenham's Harry Kane and Deli Alli chatted to Jan Vertonghen while John Stones shook hands with Manchester City's Vincent Kompany.

Belgium took the lead within less than five minutes when Nacer Chadli crossed from the left after a pass from Romelu Lukaku, and defender Thomas Meunier beat Danny Rose to the ball and stuck out his right boot to score. 

Meunier became the 10th goal scorer for Belgium in this tournament, helping his team equal a record held by Italy (2006) and France (1982).

In a lively opening period Pickford was forced into an excellent save from Kevin de Bruyne before England's Ruben Loftus-Cheek tested the Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois from distance. 

Kane had England's best chance of the first half when he fired a bouncing shot wide from close range after a pass from Raheem Sterling. 

But Belgium threatened again when Stones hurling his body to deny Hazard, before Toby Alderweireld nearly scored with an acrobatic kick after Youri Tielemans had miscued a shot from the resulting corner.

Southgate brought on Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford for Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling at half time, as England made a better start after the break with a dangerous run by Loftus-Cheek, a free kick by Kieran Tripper and a cross from Lingard which narrowly missed the arriving Kane. 

But moments later Pickford was called into action again when he rushed out to claim the ball from Romelu Lukaku after the striker was played through by de Bruyne. Lukaku was substituted after an hour, ending his hopes of overhauling Kane in the scoring charts.  

It is England's last World Cup finals match for at least four years and their last in the British summer for at least eight, after FIFA announced the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would be held in November and December.

However England will have a particular incentive to reach the semi-finals at the European Championships in 2020, as both semi-finals and the final will take place at Wembley.  

Belgium's Eden Hazard is pursued by England's Eric Dier as the two teams face off for the second time at this tournament
Belgium's Eden Hazard is pursued by England's Eric Dier as the two teams face off for the second time at this tournament

Belgium's Eden Hazard is pursued by England's Eric Dier as the two teams face off for the second time at this tournament

Belgium players celebrate with goalscorer Thomas Meunier (second from left) after the defender put his side 1-0 ahead
Belgium players celebrate with goalscorer Thomas Meunier (second from left) after the defender put his side 1-0 ahead

Belgium players celebrate with goalscorer Thomas Meunier (second from left) after the defender put his side 1-0 ahead

Harry Kane walks back to the centre circle while Belgium players in the background celebrate their opening goal 
Harry Kane walks back to the centre circle while Belgium players in the background celebrate their opening goal 

Harry Kane walks back to the centre circle while Belgium players in the background celebrate their opening goal 

England's Harry Maguire challenges for the ball with Belgium's Romelu Lukaku during Saturday's third-place playoff 
England's Harry Maguire challenges for the ball with Belgium's Romelu Lukaku during Saturday's third-place playoff 

England's Harry Maguire challenges for the ball with Belgium's Romelu Lukaku during Saturday's third-place playoff 

England and Belgium players tussle in the penalty area ahead of a free kick while referee Alireza Faghani keeps order 
England and Belgium players tussle in the penalty area ahead of a free kick while referee Alireza Faghani keeps order 

England and Belgium players tussle in the penalty area ahead of a free kick while referee Alireza Faghani keeps order 

Harry Kane has England's first clear chance after a pass from Sterling but fires a bouncing shot wide of Belgium's goal 
Harry Kane has England's first clear chance after a pass from Sterling but fires a bouncing shot wide of Belgium's goal 

Harry Kane has England's first clear chance after a pass from Sterling but fires a bouncing shot wide of Belgium's goal 

Kane gives Sterling a thumbs-up after missing from the edge of the penalty area during the first half against Belgium 
Kane gives Sterling a thumbs-up after missing from the edge of the penalty area during the first half against Belgium 

Kane gives Sterling a thumbs-up after missing from the edge of the penalty area during the first half against Belgium 

Toby Alderweireld hooks over the bar after a team-mate had miscued a shot from a Belgian corner 
Toby Alderweireld hooks over the bar after a team-mate had miscued a shot from a Belgian corner 

Toby Alderweireld hooks over the bar after a team-mate had miscued a shot from a Belgian corner 

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku controls the ball as England's John Stones pursues him during the third-place playoff 
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku controls the ball as England's John Stones pursues him during the third-place playoff 

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku controls the ball as England's John Stones pursues him during the third-place playoff 

Gareth Southgate gives instructions as England struggle to keep the score at 1-0 during a lively first half in St Petersbug 
Gareth Southgate gives instructions as England struggle to keep the score at 1-0 during a lively first half in St Petersbug 

Gareth Southgate gives instructions as England struggle to keep the score at 1-0 during a lively first half in St Petersbug 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is challenged by Jan Vertonghen as England look for an equaliser early in the second half 
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is challenged by Jan Vertonghen as England look for an equaliser early in the second half 

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is challenged by Jan Vertonghen as England look for an equaliser early in the second half 

Belgium's Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany combine to thwart England's Loftus-Cheek as England chase an equaliser 
Belgium's Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany combine to thwart England's Loftus-Cheek as England chase an equaliser 

Belgium's Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany combine to thwart England's Loftus-Cheek as England chase an equaliser 

England defender John Stones is shown a yellow card for a foul on Belgium's Eden Hazard in the second half 
England defender John Stones is shown a yellow card for a foul on Belgium's Eden Hazard in the second half 

England defender John Stones is shown a yellow card for a foul on Belgium's Eden Hazard in the second half 

England warned over 'political chants' 

The FA has been warned over the misconduct of a group of England fans who engaged in 'political chants' during the defeat to Croatia.

FIFA's disciplinary committee announced the warning today after an investigation into 'possible discriminatory' songs.

Officials did not say exactly what the offending chants were.  

But it is believed the warning may relate to chants of 'No Surrender' during the national anthem, a reference to the IRA. 

Fans were warned they could be banned for singing the words when England played the Republic of Ireland in 2015.  

The final games of the 2020 tournament, which is being held in 12 different cities across Europe, will be the first major tournament fixtures in England since Southgate's penalty miss at Euro 1996.

Third-place matches have often been high-scoring affairs, with at least four goals in every bronze medal game since 2002. 

England's only previous third-place fixture came in 1990, after their defeat to West Germany on penalties in the semi-finals. Bobby Robson's side lost the game 2-1 to tournament hosts Italy. 

But today's game gives captain Harry Kane a chance to secure his place as the tournament's top scorer, and become England's first Golden Boot winner since Gary Lineker at Mexico 1986.   

England did not have to travel far as their training base in Repino lies close to St Petersburg, although today's game was their first in the stadium.

After they play Belgium they will check out on Sunday morning and fly home to Birmingham Airport, although officials have warned fans at home not to come and see the players. 

Airport managers said on Facebook: 'Please be aware that there will be no public viewing area to see the England Football Team arrive home so we strongly advise the public not to come to Birmingham Airport as you will not see the team.'  

England led the semi-final for much of normal time after Kieran Trippier's early free kick but Croatia fought back to win the game in extra time and secure a place in Sunday's final against France. 

Fern Hawkins posted on Instagram this morning ahead of the England game
Fern Hawkins posted on Instagram this morning ahead of the England game
Becky Vardy's post on Instagram
Becky Vardy's post on Instagram

Fern Hawkins (left) and Becky Vardy (right) posted on Instagram this morning ahead of England's last game of the World Cup

Rebekah Vardy and Harry Maguire's fiancee Fern Hawkins watch the action in St Petersburg as England take on Belgium 
Rebekah Vardy and Harry Maguire's fiancee Fern Hawkins watch the action in St Petersburg as England take on Belgium 

Rebekah Vardy and Harry Maguire's fiancee Fern Hawkins watch the action in St Petersburg as England take on Belgium 

Ashley Young's wife Nicky Pike watches from the stands as England take on Belgium for the bronze medal at the World Cup 
Ashley Young's wife Nicky Pike watches from the stands as England take on Belgium for the bronze medal at the World Cup 

Ashley Young's wife Nicky Pike watches from the stands as England take on Belgium for the bronze medal at the World Cup 

Fern Hawkins, fiancee of England's Harry Maguire in the stands before the third-place playoff in St Petersburg today 
Fern Hawkins, fiancee of England's Harry Maguire in the stands before the third-place playoff in St Petersburg today 

Fern Hawkins, fiancee of England's Harry Maguire in the stands before the third-place playoff in St Petersburg today 

Rebekah Vardy and Fern Hawkins watch on as England face Belgium hoping to secure their best World Cup finish since 1966 
Rebekah Vardy and Fern Hawkins watch on as England face Belgium hoping to secure their best World Cup finish since 1966 

Rebekah Vardy and Fern Hawkins watch on as England face Belgium hoping to secure their best World Cup finish since 1966 

Rebekah Vardy takes a picture while Fern Hawkins blows a kiss at England's third-place playoff against Belgium today 
Rebekah Vardy takes a picture while Fern Hawkins blows a kiss at England's third-place playoff against Belgium today 

Rebekah Vardy takes a picture while Fern Hawkins blows a kiss at England's third-place playoff against Belgium today 

Belgium fans watching the game at Flat Iron Square, London, celebrate their side's early goal against England 
Belgium fans watching the game at Flat Iron Square, London, celebrate their side's early goal against England 

Belgium fans watching the game at Flat Iron Square, London, celebrate their side's early goal against England 

Fans at Flat Iron Square, London, watch the third-place playoff between England and Belgium at the 2018 World Cup 
Fans at Flat Iron Square, London, watch the third-place playoff between England and Belgium at the 2018 World Cup 

Fans at Flat Iron Square, London, watch the third-place playoff between England and Belgium at the 2018 World Cup 

Belgian fans celebrate after their team took the lead after just five minutes of the bronze medal game against England 
Belgian fans celebrate after their team took the lead after just five minutes of the bronze medal game against England 

Belgian fans celebrate after their team took the lead after just five minutes of the bronze medal game against England 

Harry Kane leads England's warm-up in St Petersburg as they look to end their World Cup campaign on a high against Belgium
Harry Kane leads England's warm-up in St Petersburg as they look to end their World Cup campaign on a high against Belgium

Harry Kane leads England's warm-up in St Petersburg as they look to end their World Cup campaign on a high against Belgium

Belgian fans enjoy themselves at Flat Iron Square, London, as their side dominated the first half and went in 1-0 ahead 
Belgian fans enjoy themselves at Flat Iron Square, London, as their side dominated the first half and went in 1-0 ahead 

Belgian fans enjoy themselves at Flat Iron Square, London, as their side dominated the first half and went in 1-0 ahead 

Captain Harry Kane warms up before the England game where he is hoping to secure the tournament's Golden Boot 
Captain Harry Kane warms up before the England game where he is hoping to secure the tournament's Golden Boot 

Captain Harry Kane warms up before the England game where he is hoping to secure the tournament's Golden Boot 

Gareth Southgate speaks to his coaching staff as players take to the pitch to prepare for the third-place playoff today 
Gareth Southgate speaks to his coaching staff as players take to the pitch to prepare for the third-place playoff today 

Gareth Southgate speaks to his coaching staff as players take to the pitch to prepare for the third-place playoff today 

Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard , Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck of England warm up for the third-place playoff 
Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard , Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck of England warm up for the third-place playoff 

Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard , Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck of England warm up for the third-place playoff 

England's Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford speak to Man Utd team-mate Adnan Januzaj on the pitch today
England's Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford speak to Man Utd team-mate Adnan Januzaj on the pitch today

England's Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford speak to Man Utd team-mate Adnan Januzaj on the pitch today

Tottenham team-mates Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele prepare to line up on opposing sides 
Tottenham team-mates Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele prepare to line up on opposing sides 

Tottenham team-mates Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele prepare to line up on opposing sides 

England players including Jamie Vardy inspect the pitch in St Petersburg ahead of their third-place playoff against Belgium 
England players including Jamie Vardy inspect the pitch in St Petersburg ahead of their third-place playoff against Belgium 

England players including Jamie Vardy inspect the pitch in St Petersburg ahead of their third-place playoff against Belgium 

England's Kyle Walker speaks to Manchester City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne as the two sides inspect the St Petersburg pitch
England's Kyle Walker speaks to Manchester City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne as the two sides inspect the St Petersburg pitch

England's Kyle Walker speaks to Manchester City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne as the two sides inspect the St Petersburg pitch

John Stones and Raheem Sterling shake hands with Manchester City team-mate Vincent Kompany before the game
John Stones and Raheem Sterling shake hands with Manchester City team-mate Vincent Kompany before the game

John Stones and Raheem Sterling shake hands with Manchester City team-mate Vincent Kompany before the game

Hawkins posted a picture of Maguire on Instagram after the Croatia game, saying: 'You have done yourself, your family and the whole nation proud. That in itself makes you a winner.' 

The Leicester player, who scored England's first goal in the quarter-final win against Sweden, said he was 'devastated' and 'absolutely gutted' after Southgate's team missed the chance to reach the final.  

He paid tribute to the fans, saying: 'Your support throughout the tournament has been different class. The best fans in the world.' 

The couple lifted spirits after the Croatia game with a meal at the same beachfront restaurant where Fern enjoyed a WAGs' night out two weeks ago. 

It is their second game against Belgium at the 2018 competition following a 1-0 defeat in the group stage, when both sides rested players after securing a place in the knockout stage.   

Belgium earned a place in the last four by beating Brazil in the quarter-finals but were defeated by France in St Petersburg on Tuesday evening.   

Tottenham team-mates Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele speak in the tunnel as England and Belgium players inspect the pitch 
Tottenham team-mates Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele speak in the tunnel as England and Belgium players inspect the pitch 

Tottenham team-mates Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele speak in the tunnel as England and Belgium players inspect the pitch 

Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium talk to John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph of England
Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium talk to John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph of England

Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium talk to John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph of England

England shirts are laid out in the dressing room in St Petersburg ahead of their third-place playoff against Belgium today 
England shirts are laid out in the dressing room in St Petersburg ahead of their third-place playoff against Belgium today 

England shirts are laid out in the dressing room in St Petersburg ahead of their third-place playoff against Belgium today 

The St Petersburg stadium where England finish off their World Cup campaign with Saturday's third-place playoff 
The St Petersburg stadium where England finish off their World Cup campaign with Saturday's third-place playoff 

The St Petersburg stadium where England finish off their World Cup campaign with Saturday's third-place playoff 

A picture of Harry Maguire chatting with partner Fern Hawkins has gone viral on Twitter
A picture of Harry Maguire chatting with partner Fern Hawkins has gone viral on Twitter
A picture of Maguire chatting to Fern Hawkins in the stands became a meme and made the Leicester player a World Cup star
A picture of Maguire chatting to Fern Hawkins in the stands became a meme and made the Leicester player a World Cup star

A picture of Maguire chatting to Fern Hawkins in the stands became a meme and made the Leicester player a World Cup star 

England players receive medals after they played Italy in their only previous World Cup third-place playoff, in 1990 
England players receive medals after they played Italy in their only previous World Cup third-place playoff, in 1990 

England players receive medals after they played Italy in their only previous World Cup third-place playoff, in 1990 

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