England end Belgium’s streak with a win in Nations League

Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 2 - England v Belgium - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 11, 2020 Belgium's Thomas Meunier in action with England's Marcus Rashford Pool via REUTERS/Neil Hall

Marcus Rashford’s penalty and a deflected strike from Mason Mount for England ended top-ranked Belgium’s streak at Wembley on Sunday to snatch the top spot of their UEFA Nations League group. The Three Lions came from behind as Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring for the visitors from the penalty spot in the 16th minute. The two nations are the top favourites to win the Euro 2020 title next year.

After the half-time break, a penalty awarded for England Belgium’s Thomas Meunier clumsily pulled down the hosts’ captain Jordan Henderson. Rashford converted from the spot to register his 11th goal in an England shirt. In the second half, England stepped-up and after a half of industry and invention, took a late lead through Mason Mount’s shot. 

“It doesn’t matter how they go in. I found myself with a bit of space in the box and only had one thing on my mind, to get the ball out of my body and shoot. A big deflection, but you’ll take them,” Mount told a news portal. England moved a point ahead of second-place Belgium and three above Denmark which beat Iceland 3-0. Belgium saw its 13-match unbeaten run ended by a 2-1 defeat in Wembley.

Meanwhile, in an interview before the game, England boss fears that the European Championship finals will not take place next summer or at least not in their intended 12-city pan-continental format. “I think what is possible and what looks possible is going to have changed frequently over the next few months,” Southgate told a news portal.

“You couldn’t stand with certainty and say it is going to take place in the format it is expected to. We would definitely be capable of hosting. We are due to host a lot of games at Wembley anyway so I don’t think that will change, but it really is an unknown what the format might end up looking like. It is impossible to predict and we have to be ready to adapt to whatever is thrown our way, he added.

Elsewhere, European champions Portugal and World champions France lost their perfect records in this season’s UEFA Nations League after playing out a goalless draws against France and Poland respectively. Portugal stays top in Group 3 of League A, ahead of France on goal difference, with both teams on seven points, while Italy is a point above the Netherlands and Poland in Group 1 of League A.