Adnan Januzaj’s stunning second-half strike was enough to give Belgium a 1-0 victory over England that sees them finish top of Group H of the ongoing Fifa World Cup.
Having already secured qualification from the group coming into the tie, both sides rested players to give the reserves a run in the tournament.
But the Belgians looked the more cohesive unit and it wasn’t long before midfielder Youri Tielemans forced a fine save from England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford with a rasping drive from outside the area.
England had a let off moments later when Pickford somehow spilled MIchy Batshuayi’s weak effort from inside the area, forcing Gary Cahill into a last-gasp clearance.
Roberto Martinez’s men continued to dominate in the second half and Januzaj soon produced a moment of magic to light up the Kaliningrad Arena.
The former Manchester United forward picked up the ball from the left and sold Danny Rose a dummy before unleashing a dipping shot into the far corner beyond the reach of Pickford.
England responded with more urgency, and Marcus Rashford should have drawn them level when he was beautifully teed up by strike partner Jamie Vardy, but the Manchester United striker saw his shot saved by the outstretched hands of Thibaut Courtois.
With tournament top scorer Harry Kane on the bench, England lacked the cutting edge up front despite having more of the ball, and Belgium could have doubled their lead in the dying minutes after a goalmouth scramble.
It was England’s first competitive loss in two years, and they now go into the knockout rounds to take on Colombia, who finished top of Group H, while Belgium will do battle against Japan.
Elsewhere in the group, Tunisia came from a goal down to beat debutants Panama 2-1, second-half goals from Fakhreddine Ben Youssef and Wahbi Khazri cancelling out Yassine Meriah’s first-half own goal.
Both sides were already eliminated before the tie, but the Carthage Eagles return home with some consolation.