England seals a 2-1 comeback from the world’s top-ranked team Belgium and records an important Nations League victory at Wembley.
(African Stand) — Mason Mount scored the winner as England came from behind to beat Belgium 2-1 in the Uefa Nations League at Wembley Stadium.
The Chelsea midfield gave England a big win ahead of next summer’s Euros when his deflected shot looped in midway through the second half.
Belgium had taken an early lead at Wembley through a Romelu Lukaku penalty but England deserves credit for the way they battled back against the No1 ranked team in the world.
Marcus Rashford marked becoming an MBE with an equaliser from the penalty spot late in the first half and Mount completed the turnaround in the second half.
Gareth Southgate said this was the sort of test England needed with eighth months until the Euros and their second-half performance was one of their best displays in a while.
England looked vulnerable in the first half but they were much better defensively after the break and Southgate will please with the way they managed the game after going ahead.
Harry Kane did not start after Southgate revealed the Tottenham striker has been suffering from “muscle fatigue” and has hardly trained this week. But Southgate allayed any fears that Kane was injured and by bringing him on as a substitute for the final 25 minutes.
On a night of positives, Harry Maguire was back in the England team for the first time since being arrested in Greece in August and played 90 minutes, Kyle Walker impressed on his 50th England appearance, Reece James made his international debut as a second-half substitute and Jordan Pickford had an uneventful return in goal.
Belgium was without injured captain Eden Hazard but they took the lead after 16 minutes when Eric Dier brought down Lukaku with a rash sliding challenge inside the penalty area and the Inter striker sent Jordan Pickford the wrong way from the spot.
Lukaku started to bully England back three of Dier, Harry Maguire, and Kyle Walker and the hosts were on the ropes for most of a tough first half.
Belgium were much slicker in possession, England struggled to cope with their combination play and Dominic Calvert-Lewin struggled for service upfront.
But England were level at half-time after Thomas Meunier brought down Jordan Henderson from a corner to concede a penalty on 39 minutes. In the absence of Kane, Rashford stepped up and fired to past Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to equalise.
The Manchester United striker was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for campaigning for free school meals and, wearing specially designed boots with messages from children he has helped, capped a fine week with a good display.
England was much improved after the break and dealt with the threat of Lukaku a lot better.
Southgate saw his side go-ahead after 64 minutes when Mount cut inside from the left and his shot deflected off Toby Alderweireld and looped over Mignolet.
Yannick Carrasco missed a good chance from a brilliant pass from Kevin De Bruyne, who was then substituted in an injury worry for Manchester City.
Kane and Rashford missed good chances late on but England saw it through.