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28th Jun 2018

‘He’s the English Glenn Whelan’ – Eric Dier’s performance against Belgium wasn’t well received

Belgium have beaten England to top Group G

Robert Redmond

Belgium have beaten England to top Group G

The final group game of the 2018 World Cup was settled by Adnan Januzaj. The former Manchester United winger scored a stunning goal to give Belgium a 1-0 win over England and set-up a last-16 tie against Japan. England, as group runners-up, will play Colombia, the winners of Group H.

It was hard to take anything meaningful from the game, particularly the first half, which rivalled France’s dull draw with Denmark as the most forgettable match of an otherwise exciting tournament.

However, Gareth Southgate perhaps learned that he was right to select Jordan Henderson ahead of Eric Dier in England’s previous group games.

Henderson has received praise for his performances at the tournament so far. He sprayed a few nice passes against Tunisia when given space and time, but was crowded out after the North Africans tinkered their formation and cut off space to England’s midfielders. Against Panama, Henderson was involved in some of England’s goals and had a comfortable afternoon against one of the poorest sides to feature at the tournament.

The Liverpool captain isn’t exactly the English Sergio Busquets some pundits seem to think he is, but he has worked extremely hard at the tournament and was given the night off against Belgium. Judging by Dier’s performance, Henderson will be back in the team for the tie against Colombia.

The Tottenham midfielder had an off-night. His passing wasn’t particularly crisp, he struggled to cope with the physicality of the Belgium midfield and he just looked off the pace in the opening spell. England’s captain for the game struggled to impose himself on the match in the second-half as England searched for an equaliser. Football statistics website Whoscored gave Dier’s performance a 6.1 out of 10, the lowest of any England outfield player who started the game.

His performance was well-received by those watching at home.

In the RTE studio, pundit Eamon Dunphy called Dier a “terrible player” – which was completely unfair – and compared him unfavourably to Aston Villa and Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan.

Other people weren’t that harsh, but still weren’t impressed with Dier.