NO specific tempo up entrance, no sorcery in central midfield, no composure in defence.
In certainly one of their final critical assessments earlier than subsequent summer time’s Euros, there was little to recommend that England might be real contenders to win the factor.
Harry Kane goes closest for England within the first half with a header that’s cleared off the road in his fiftieth worldwide appeaanceCredit score: Rex Options
Half the four-man England wall fails to get off the bottom as Dries Mertens curves a free-kick to double the Belgium leadCredit score: Getty Photographs – Getty
Skipper Harry Kane and his England team-mates had been down on their luck as they battled nicely in Belgium however lacked high quality at each endsCredit score: Rex Options
You may name it a actuality examine, however in actuality, Gareth Southgate’s males have been uninspiring in 4 of their 5 aggressive matches this autumn.
Their possibilities of reaching the Nations League finals had been ended by two early objectives from Youri Tielemans and Dries Mertens.
And regardless that England created possibilities towards Fifa’s world No 1 workforce, Belgium had superior high quality at both finish of the pitch.
However his devotion to enjoying with three central defenders and wing-backs leaves the Three Lions and not using a inventive drive behind skipper Harry Kane.
So to determine towards beginning with the tempo of Jadon Sancho, who had scored towards the Republic of Eire on Thursday, at all times felt like a conservative transfer — and there have been too a lot of them from Southgate.
A minimum of the England boss has misplaced his blind spot over Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, who was wonderful on his first aggressive England begin and can take some shifting from this workforce.
But it surely nonetheless wasn’t sufficient to unlock an skilled Belgian defence.
England aren’t dangerous in any respect however neither are they world-beaters.
Youri Tielemans roars his approval at his tenth-minute opener for Belgium Credit score: AP:Related Press
Jack Grealish squeezes in a half-chance previous Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld however England drew blanks all eveningCredit score: AFP or licensors
Boss Gareth Southgate sees England wrestle to show possession into objectives, with Belgium chief Roberto Martinez watching onCredit score: Reuters
You sense that, in his coronary heart of hearts, Southgate doesn’t fairly imagine they’re able to win a event, therefore these overly-cautious beginning line-ups.
Sterling had failed a late health take a look at after struggling a knock in coaching, so Southgate elected to start out each Grealish and Mason Mount to help Kane in assault.
England’s victory over the Belgians at Wembley final month had been notable, but they’d been totally outplayed for the opening half-hour.
However a subsequent dwelling defeat by Denmark left Southgate’s males understanding they might in all probability want a victory in Leuven to succeed in the finals — and that was by no means actually on the playing cards.
Belgium are unbeaten in aggressive dwelling matches for greater than a decade and you may see why, regardless that England had extra pictures on aim.
Inside two minutes, Kane went on a driving run on the coronary heart of the house defence and drilled one simply broad.
However England had been behind inside ten minutes.
Eric Dier’s cross put Mount beneath stress, Jan Vertonghen nicked possession and Romelu Lukaku, surrounded by 5 England gamers, managed to tee up Tielemans.
Dries Mertens enjoys making it 2-0 to Belgium with a free-kick on 23 minutesCredit score: Getty Photographs – Getty
Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans fires Belgium in entrance with a deflected effortCredit score: AFP or licensors
The Leicester midfielder leathered his shot, which deflected off Tyrone Mings, with Jordan Pickford solely capable of flip it on to the within of the publish and into the online.
Dier is revered as a participant and a bloke however at elite stage, he provides away too many objectives.
England had been straight again at Roberto Martinez’s aspect, although, Kieran Trippier whipping in a cross and Grealish nipping in on the near-post just for his effort to be deflected broad by Toby Alderweireld.
From Trippier’s nook, Kane beat Thibaut Courtois with a stooping header, just for an alert Lukaku to dart again and nod off the road.
However halfway by way of the primary half, Belgium had been two up — Declan Rice penalised for catching Kevin De Bruyne after he had nicked the ball.
Mertens, enjoying in his hometown stadium, bent in an outstanding free-kick with Pickford clutching at air. Ben Chilwell was compelled off by way of damage earlier than half-time and changed by Bukayo Saka, leaving Southgate with out 4 defenders who may be thought of first-choice.
BOBBED AND WEAVED
If there was to be a change at half-time you’ll have anticipated Sancho to reach and provides England an injection of tempo.
As an alternative it was Harry Winks, not at present enjoying for Tottenham within the Premier League, who changed Jordan Henderson.
Nonetheless, England had a few early sighters within the second half.
Grealish obtained away with a foul on Axel Witsel, earlier than Alderweireld introduced down Spurs team-mate Kane on the sting of the world however Mount was wayward along with his free-kick.
Then Grealish, on a darting run, was tripped by Thomas Meunier just for Trippier to plough his free-kick into the wall.
Mount quickly launched Kane however the skipper — who had simply taken a heavy whack from Jason Denayer — shot meekly at Courtois.
Grealish, more and more influential, bobbed, weaved and shot simply over.
Pickford made a high quality save to disclaim Lukaku and with England stretched it was the hosts who regarded the extra doubtless late scorers.
This has been a grim outdated autumn for Southgate — and regardless that off-field controversies have typically overshadowed the precise soccer, there may be little doubt they’ve gone backwards.