England coach Gareth Southgate admits side beaten by better team as Belgium take World Cup third spot

Southgate and his players did far better than expected in Russia.
Updated 15 July 2018
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England coach Gareth Southgate admits side beaten by better team as Belgium take World Cup third spot

  • Belgium prove too good for England in easy 2-0 win
  • England coach calls for team to use run to last-four as springboard to silverware

Gareth Southgate admitted the better side won after Belgium beat England at a canter in Saint Petersburg.
Goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard (right), one in each half, were enough to see off the Three Lions who looked well off the pace after their extra-time defeat to Croatia in Wednesday’s semifinal.
Both teams were playing for the seventh time in 26 days, but Belgium entered the match with an extra day of rest.
Meunier scored in the fourth minute, knocking a cross from Nacer Chadli past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Hazard added the other off a pass from Kevin De Bruyne eight minutes from time.
After a run to the last-four which had been as unexpected as it was tense, the England manager said that his team had run out of steam.
“Belgium are a better side than us. We had to play flat out. We had a day less to repair and recover. It was a game too far for us,” Southgate said.
“Belgium are a top team and they will be thinking they should have gone further than they did. We caused them problems and pinned them back but they have players of the highest quality.
“Two years on, you look at the number of caps and age of the squad for Belgium. This is their peak but we are nowhere near that.
Toby Alderweireld denied England’s best chance of the game, sliding on the goal line to clear a shot from Eric Dier.
Despite the defeat England matched their best World Cup result — fourth in 1990 — since winning the tournament for the only time in 1966.
The run to the semifinals galvanized the country, and striker Harry Kane said the side must use their Russia campaign as a springboard.
“This game showed there is still room for improvement. We’re not the finished article, we’re still improving and will only get better. We don’t want to wait another 20 years to get into the semi-finals. We have made huge strides.”
For Belgium it was their best finish in a World Cup. Something that, once the dust has settled, will offer some consolation for not going all the way to today’s final.
“It’s all about the achievement, this is Belgium’s best finish at a World Cup. The players deserve that and they wanted to make the country proud,” Belgium boss Roberto Martinez said.
“We had 10 different goal scorers, the joint best in World Cup history. This team have broken records in the right way.”


Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Updated 21 April 2019
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Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

  • The 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets

NEW YORK: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid returned from injury to score a game-high 31 points and grab 16 rebounds, powering the 76ers to a 112-108 NBA playoff victory at Brooklyn on Saturday.
Despite a third-quarter incident that saw two players ejected, the 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets and could advance in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven matchup with a home victory Tuesday.
In the other Eastern Conference game, Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and nine rebounds as the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks put the Detroit Pistons on the brink of elimination with a 119-103 win. The victory give the Bucks a 3-0 lead and they can wrap up the series with a win on the road in the Motor City on Monday.
Philadelphia, down by 10 points early in the third quarter, battled back most of the second half before taking the lead on a run of eight points by Embiid, who missed game three with a sore left knee.
A slam dunk and layup by Embiid gave the 76ers their first late lead at 102-101 but, after an exchange of layups and three-pointers as well as turnovers, fell behind 108-107 on a basket by Brooklyn’s Joe Harris with 25 seconds remaining.
On the next 76er possession, Embiid flipped the last of his seven assists to Mike Scott, whose corner three-pointer put Philadelphia ahead to stay 110-108 with 19 seconds remaining.
Australian Ben Simmons — who added 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the 76ers — stole the ball from Brooklyn’s Jarett Allen and Tobias Harris sank two free throws for the last of his 24 points to clinch the triumph.
Caris LeVert led the Nets with 25 points while Brooklyn had 21 points each from Allen and D’Angelo Russell.
Cameroon star center Embiid was issued a flagrant foul in touching off an altercation 4:18 into the third quarter that saw Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley ejected. Embiid, who had elbowed Allen in the face in game two, was whistled for a hard foul on Allen that prompted Dudley to rush at Embiid, taking down the Sixers big man. Butler swung his left arm at Dudley, who wound up in the front row seats with Simmons at one stage, to earn his ejection.
In Detroit, Brook Lopez tallied 19 points and had seven rebounds and five blocked shots and Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double in the series and Nikola Mirotic chipped in 12 points.
Detroit’s hobbled star Blake Griffin had 27 points in 31 minutes after he missed the first two games of the series with a sore knee.
Griffin was cleared with his leg heavily wrapped but it didn’t change the outcome.
The Pistons have now lost 13 straight playoff games dating back to 2008. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets — led by game highs of 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists from Serbian playmaker Nikola Jokic — pulled level with San Antonio at 2-2 in their opening series with a 117-103 road triumph over the Spurs.