The World Cup third place play-off may be little more than a sideshow ahead of the main event, but it allowed Belgium to equal a tournament record as they downed England once more.
Having prevailed over the Three Lions in the final game of Group G, Belgium again proved too strong for their European rivals on Saturday.
Goals in each half from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard led Roberto Martinez’s side to a 2-0 victory, which in turn guaranteed their best-ever finish at a World Cup.
The class of 2018 surpassed Belgium’s efforts in 1986, where they finished fourth after losing out to France in the play-off.
And Meunier’s goal also made another little slice of history when he turned in past Jordan Pickford in the opening minutes.
The Paris Saint-Germain defender became the 10th Belgium player to net in Russia, a mark only Italy in 2006 and France in 1982 have previously matched.
Dries Mertens was the first man to get Belgium off the mark with a second-half strike against Panama in Group G’s opener, before Romelu Lukaku swooped with a late double against the CONCACAF team.
10 – Thomas Meunier is the 10th different player to score for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup – the joint-most different scorers for a team at a single World Cup (also 10 for France in 1982 and Italy in 2006). Spread. #BELENG #BEL #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/ACnK9xvP14
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 14, 2018
Hazard then opened his account from the penalty spot and added another in a 5-2 rout of Tunisia, with Lukaku scoring another two and Michy Batshuayi adding another.
Then, in a game that saw both sides make huge rotations, Adnan Januzaj scored the only goal of a 1-0 win over England to send the Red Devils through to the last 16 with a 100 per cent record.
There were three more scorers in a thrilling comeback to beat Japan, as Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli inspired their 3-2 victory.
And Kevin De Bruyne became the ninth man on the scoresheet with Belgium’s second against Brazil; a Fernandinho own goal having put the Europeans ahead against Tite’s charges.