Harry Kane was a peripheral figure during England’s 2-0 defeat against Belgium in the World Cup third-place play-off .
Goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard did the damage on Saturday as Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions had to settle for finishing fourth in Russia.
Here, we analyse captain Kane’s performance in St Petersburg as he looks well set for the Golden Boot with his six goals from earlier in the tournament.
As he had been throughout the competition, the Tottenham striker was the focal point of his country’s attack, leading the line as the central striker. Raheem Sterling and, in the second half, Marcus Rashford attempted to support him
After scoring six times in England’s opening four games, the tournament’s top scorer was unable to find the net in either the quarter-final or semi-final and could not end that run on Saturday. He wasted a decent chance midway through the first half, scuffing into the ground and wide from the edge of the box after being teed up by Sterling, and narrowly failed to connect with a delivery from substitute Jesse Lingard in the second period.
Former England defender Gary Neville said he would be surprised if Kane was not carrying an injury following his display in the semi-final defeat to Croatia. He again looked a little bit sluggish against Belgium and lacked the sharpness and movement he showed at the start of the competition and regularly displays in the Premier League.
With manager Southgate opting to give opportunities to Fabian Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in central midfield – in place of the more attack-minded duo of Dele Alli and Lingard – Kane appeared more isolated than previous games. He barely touched the ball, particularly in the opening period, and was forced to come deep to become involved in the action.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Kane as he struggled to have an impact on the game. Up against Belgium’s formidable back three of Vincent Kompany and his Tottenham team-mates Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, the 24-year-old received little service from his team-mates and did not threaten a goal. On the positive side, Romelu Lukaku’s failure to score at the other end means Kane remains on course to be the first Englishman to win the World Cup Golden Boot since Gary Lineker at Mexico ’86.
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