Belgium defeated England 2-0 in their Group Two encounter in the UEFA Nations League at the King Power Stadium in Leuven. As a result, England's chances of qualifying for the Nations League finals have significantly diminished.
Interestingly, England enjoyed maximum ball possession for the majority of the match. But frankly speaking, the visitors' attacking unit was not so intimidating for the world number one side. Belgium took early control of the match as they netted two times within the first 23 minutes.
It was Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans who opened the scoring for the hosts in the 10th minute, as his 20-yard shot took a deflection off Tyrone Mings. 13 minutes later, Dries Mertens struck from a brilliant free-kick after the referee controversially declared Declan Rice's ball-snatching attempt to be a foul against Kevin de Bruyne.
In the meantime, England went close to scoring multiple times but Belgium's defence was too powerful to be penetrated. Harry Kane's opportunistic header was rejected, thanks to a brilliant headed block by Romelu Lukaku.
English players spent much of the second half in the opponents' half. Despite that, Gareth Southgate's men failed to utilise the opportunities to score some goals which could have kept them in contention for qualification to the next round of the tournament.
When the inaugural edition of the Nations League was organised in Portugal in 2019, England finished third. But this year, they won't be competing in the finals.
According to the BBC, Southgate said, "We don't like losing but enormous credit to the team. All the way through they created problems and defended resiliently. I thought we were excellent. I couldn't have enough praise for the players. We had a different profile of players but in those positions, I thought Jack Grealish had an absolutely outstanding game. Losing Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, we lose a lot of speed. But I can't fault the attacking play until the last chance."
In another Group A2 tie, Christian Eriksen scored a brace to help Denmark secure a 2-1 victory against Iceland.
As we speak, Belgium is leading the group with 12 points from five matches, consisting of four victories and a draw. Denmark is second on the list with 10 points from the same number of matches.
England, who are third with seven points, have won twice, lost twice, and drawn once. Iceland has lost all their five matches so far.