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England have failed to qualify for the Nations League finals.(Read More)

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England have failed to qualify for the Nations League finals.(Read More)
Dries Mertens was the first player to score a direct free-kick for Belgium since Kevin De Bruyne v Israel in 2015

England’s hopes of qualifying for the Nations League finals were ended by defeat against Belgium in Leuven.

Gareth Southgate’s side had plenty of possession against the world’s top-ranked side but England were toothless in attack and ultimately undone by two early goals.

Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans opened the scoring after 10 minutes when his 20-yard shot took a deflection of Tyrone Mings and Dries Mertens doubled their advantage 13 minutes later with a superb free-kick after Declan Rice was harshly adjudged to have fouled Kevin de Bruyne.

Belgium’s second came after Romelu Lukaku had headed off the line brilliantly from Harry Kane and while England spent much of the second half in their opponents’ half, they were unable to fashion the opportunities to work their way back into contention.

Defeat means England will not reach the finals after finishing third in 2019, when the inaugural showpiece was held in Portugal.

In the other match in group A2, Christian Eriksen scored twice to give Denmark a 2-1 victory over Iceland.

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