The Belgium boys were back to their winning ways after their first competitive match since losing 1-0 to Argentina in the Brazil World Cup. Beating Australia 2-0 with a goal in either half from Dries Mertens and Axel Witsel, the Reds looked on top form at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne. Showing off the new Belgium kit sponsored by Adidas , the boys from Bruge dominated the match leading the Socceroos to their 5th straight defeat in international football. Fortunately, the Aussies play Saudi Arabia in their next friendly which should hopefully give them a boost!
Australia lose 2-0 to Belgium
The Aussies couldn’t get it together. Legend Tim Cahill barely touched the ball with other teammates like lost sheep looking for Bo Peep. Veteran Mark Bresciano who know at 34 used to play for the likes of Lazio and Palermo, looked strongest for Australia whilst FC Ingolstadt 04‘s Matthew Leckie continued his fine form on the wing since the World Cup. Liverpool youngster Brad Smith also made his Socceroos debut off the bench, completing his change of eligibility having represented England at junior level.
Belgium goals against Australia
The opening goal came in the 18th minute after Kevin de Bruyne was given too much space just inside the box and his powerful shot thundered against the crossbar high into the air. Everton Striker Kevin Mirallas hurled at the rebound which deflected off an Australian defender and fell for Napoli winger Dries Mertens who picked up the ball from the left side and struck it into the ground, going over the head of Goalkeeper Ryan. A bit of a freak angle left Mertens grinning before running to the sideline to do a dance and celebrate with the coaching staff.
Australia then missed a golden chance to draw level in the 23rd minute after some brilliant lead-up work from Leckie, with Cahill’s side-footed shot going straight to Thibaut Courtois.
Australia started stronger after the break but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances but Belgium sealed the win when Zenit St Petersburg star Axel Witsel brought down the ball beautifully after a Nacer Chadli cross, taking a touch to tee it up for a volley and blasting it into the back of the net in the 77th minute.
In other news, Belgium’s opener in the Euro 2016 qualifiers against Israel on the 9th September has been postponed due to the safety concerns in Israel. The match has been rescheduled to March 2015.
Belgium play in another friendly against Portugal on 17th September.
By Daniel Tannenbaum
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