Extra Leandro Trossard recorded twice as Belgium put their Netherlands frightening behind them to blow Poland 6-1 in an exciting Nations League A game at the King Baudouin Stadium on Wednesday. Belgium, coming off a 4-1 home defeat by their Dutch neighbours on Friday, fell behind when Word Cup player Robert Lewandowski achieved just before the half-hour mark, but levelled before the breakthrough of Axel Witsel.
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They conquered the second period and after goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Trossard (two), Leander Dendoncker and debutant Lois Openda progressed second in Group Four after two rounds, above Poland in third. Belgium visits the lowest side Wales on Saturday while Poland travels to the Netherlands. Poland, who ached their biggest defeat in a modest game since the 1965 FIFA World Cup, hosts Belgium in their return fixture on Tuesday.
It was incredible today, Trossard told the media. We had to respond after the last game. We played well and formed many gambles. And, of course, it’s nice when you can score so many goals. He confessed he was at a loss as to why Belgium would put in two such opposing performances in a matter of days. It’s hard to clarify, if we knew the answer to that, we would do something about it. But we replied well today, that was the most important thing before Qatar World Cup.
The home side never looked nervous after falling behind, having recorded in every game since a 1-0 loss to France at the 2018 Football World Cup, a run of 46 successive games. They also had Eden Hazard running the display as he enthralled in his 66 minutes on the field, showing flashes of quality after a season shattered by injury and poor form at Real Madrid. Poland took the lead against the run of play as Lewandowski finished a typically calm finish for his 76th global goal.
But Belgium was level three minutes before halftime through Witsel, and then showered the Poland goal with shots after that. They took the lead when Hazard slid the ball to De Bruyne in acres of space in the box, a goal that was to open the sluice gates as Trossard grabbed quickfire support, his second a superb bending effort into the top corner. Dendoncker then stopped home a 30-yard shot under no pressure from the floppy guests, and Openda completed the rout as he marked his first cap with a neat finish.
U-23 footballers snip FIFA World Cup team attention in Saudi double game
It is not frequently that Saudi Arabia’s senior team are in action on the same day as the nation’s under-23 squad, and it is even infrequent that the latter clash seems more significant. While Thursday’s friendly with Venezuela in Spain is significant for Saudi Arabia’s Football World Cup preparations, the more instant focus is on whether the youths can get the point against the UAE that is needed to pledge a quarterfinal place at the AFC U23 Asian Cup.
Under Saad Al-Shehri, Saudi Arabia’s young footballers have taken four points from the first two games of Group D, which is presently taking place in Uzbekistan. It started with a forceful 5-0 win over Tajikistan. The Central Asians may have been playing the first-ever game in the competition but are no pushovers. It was an inspiring performance from the champions with five different scorers. For more to know about Football World Cup TicketsClick here.
The next game was a 0-0 draw with Japan, an enemy for the title. With the Japan football team reduced to 10 men in the second half, there was a little disappointment that there wasn’t a second consecutive Saudi win but a point was acceptable after all, the East Asians had better odds when it was 11 vs 11.
Supercilious that Japan dodge defeat against Tajikistan in the other group game, and it would be a major wonder if they do not, then a draw will be sufficient for Saudi Arabia. Irrespective, coach Al-Shehri wants more from his players against the UAE. I think they have more superiority and can certainly play better than what we saw against Japan, he said.
But this is usual as we were playing against a good side, who made it a little more solid for us to play our normal game. We must play 100 per cent from the first minute but that did not happen against Japan. More outstandingly, we also did not allow any goal. I hope we play better in the next game against the United Arab Emirates.
It has not been a good few days for football in the UAE. The senior squad lost 2-1 to Australia on Tuesday in Asia’s Qatar World Cup playoff which finished dreams of a first entrance on the global stage since 1990. While thrashing Saudi Arabia and taking their place in the last eight of the under-23 Asian Cup may not make up for that displeasure, it would be some comfort.
The UAE lost their opener 2-1 to Japan, though we’re left to sorrow a missed penalty in the second half when the score line was 1-1. They then beat Tajikistan 2-0 and another win is likely to be essential against Saudi Arabia. In the end, we formed chances because they were able to arrive in the box, said UAE coach Denis Silva. Players need to be self-assured when formulating for the next game, and we will try to win against Saudi Arabia.
If we can create these types of changes, we can win. The Spaniard was pleased with the way his players bounced back against Tajikistan from the unsatisfactory Japan loss. It was a great game for the whole team, not only because we got the three points but also because of how we lost the game against Japan where we felt like we could have won and the players still came back with energy.
There is a different kind of heaviness on the senior Saudi Arabia team who have started arrangements for the Qatar Football World Cup with a training camp in Spain. A first friendly took place against Colombia on Sunday which finished with a 1-0 loss. It was an unsatisfactory performance against an untried South American squad. After amazing so much in qualification for the Qatar World Cup, it was a strangely passive and diffident performance.
The team that won Group B ahead of Japan and Australia hardly tested the Colombian goalkeeper for 90 minutes, made defensive errors and was somewhat pleased by the 1-0 score line. Coach Herve Renard was not existing on the sidelines as the Frenchman was sick but he is back against Venezuela and so is talismanic attacker Salem Al-Dawsari. The Al-Hilal man’s attendance, and ability to create odds and score goals were all missed.
Left-back Yasser Al-Shahrani should also be back. On the flip side, it is leftovers to be seen if captain Salman Al-Faraj is fit after picking up a shoulder injury and whether right-back Mohammed Al-Breik returns from disease. Venezuela may not be a powerhouse of South American football but are a difficult unit and will present a physical challenge, led by skilled Everton forward Salomon Rondon, defender Yordon Osorio of Parma and midfielder Yangel Herrera, on loan with Espanyol from Manchester City.
It is another valued test and preparation for November Qatar Football World Cup. A win would be nice no coach of Saudi Arabia wants to lose two games in a row and enhanced performance is vital. For a change, however, the senior team will have to share the attention with the under-23s on Thursday and it is to be expected that both can shine. If so, it will mean more football sadness for the UAE.
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