Belgium ease to comfortable 2-0 win over England

Belgium rallied in style from 2-0 down to complete a most memorable of comebacks over Japan in Rostov. EPA/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

(Reuters) – Early goals by Youri Tielemans and Dries Mertens earned Belgium a comfortable 2-0 victory over England as they strengthened their grip on top spot in Nations League Group A2 in Leuven on Sunday.

England needed a win to put themselves back in the frame for a place in the Nations League finals, but Gareth Southgate’s side found themselves chasing the game after Tielemans put the hosts in front after 10 minutes.

Harry Kane had an effort cleared off the line soon after but it got even worse for England when Mertens curled home a delightful free kick after 23 minutes.

Belgium held on with few real alarms against an unimaginative England side and must now avoid defeat on Wednesday against Denmark, who beat Iceland 2-1, to finish top of the group.

A second successive defeat for England, after a home loss to Denmark, left them in third place in the group with one match to come at home to Iceland next week.