England bounce back to beat Belgium, go top of Nations League group
England moved to the top of their Nations League group on Sunday after Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount beat Belgium 2-1 on goals from behind at an empty Wembley Stadium.
The visitors arrived as number one in the world after 12 victories in competitive games in London.
Romelu Lukaku's early penalty was just a reward for a brilliant start for Roberto Martinez's men.
But England retaliated for two defeats when the teams met at the 2018 World Cup, when Rashford's penalty and Mount's deflected winner earned all three points for the Three Lions 25 minutes from time, leaving them at the top of League A one ahead of the away team moving group 2.
England coach Gareth Southgate made nine changes after beating Wales 3-0 on Thursday. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was one of only two players held back due to the absence of captain Harry Kane, who was only fit enough to sit on the bench.
Southgate were also without Raheem Sterling and Ben Chilwell due to injury, while Jadon Sancho started on the bench after joining the squad late last weekend after violating coronavirus regulations.
Those absences took their toll on the home side, who again struggled to create opportunities in a 5-3-2 formation with five unbalanced right-backs.
Belgium lamented the lack of VAR when Yannick Carrasco ruled out a goal for a minor offside call against Timothy Castagne.
Martinez's team took the well-deserved lead in the 16th minute when Lukakus Tempo forced Eric Dier to undertake a naive challenge and the German referee Tobias Stieler finally pointed to the point after a long delay.
Lukaku scored his 53rd international goal home from the spot.
But Belgium failed to extend their lead when Kevin De Bruyne shot at Jordan Pickford and Thomas Meunier's shot from the edge of the box just missed the target.
Meunier was the culprit for England equalizing when he pulled Jordan Henderson out of a corner.
Rashford was awarded an MBE on Friday for his work fighting child poverty and the Manchester United striker took responsibility for ending a special weekend in Kane's absence.
Carrasco should have restored Belgium's lead before the break when he scored a goal with just Pickford.
Instead, it was England who scored the decisive third goal when Mount's shot landed high in front of Toby Alderweireld and fell into the far corner.
Belgium still had a chance to get away with a point when Carrasco failed to take advantage of a great through pass from De Bruyne seconds before the Manchester City midfielder changed.
On the other end, Rashford should have taken a big win for the men of Southgate when he overtook Declan Rice at the end of a fine counterattack with two deuces.
But England campaigned for a morally positive victory eight months before they first won the European Championship.
kca / td
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