Greece got a good result away at Belgium, even after being reduced to ten men early in the second half and nine in the dying moments of injury time. Here are five things we learned from the encounter.
5. Never Doubt the Greeks
The Greeks showed that they can never be counted out. They won the Euros in 2004 in an incredible run that was foreseen by none. They showed flashes of that team, holding an incredible Belgian roster to just four shots on target, a pretty good result considering their own roster. The point is vital for the Greeks who now sit second, ahead of Bosnia, a very important result if they wish to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
4. Hazard and De Bruyne Were Missed
Without world-class winger Eden Hazard and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who missed the game due to injury, Beligum looked lost out there in attack, only getting a goal thanks to a superb strike from Lukaku. The result showed how much the players mean to the Belgian national team, who struggled without them. The winger already has 77 caps to go along with 17 goals for the side, and De Bruyne has 50 caps and 13 goals. Luckily for Belgium and their respective clubs, the players should return in the next few weeks.
3. Numbers Don’t Matter
Despite a numerical disadvantage as early as the 65th minute, Greece were able to get a much needed point. Things got worse when they were reduced to nine men late in injury time, but it was too late for Belgium to capitalize. They were able to effectively defend, and they were solid to get a well-deserved point. Greece are on the path to qualification for Russia, and this performance will certainly boost their confidence.
2. Lukaku World-Class
The Belgian striker has been impressive all season, and he currently tops the Premier League top scorers list with 21 goals, an impressive feat. The Belgian is only 23 years old, and he could become one of the best players in the world if he continues on this route. He scored a beauty against Greece, a goals that salvaged them a point, and fans should be thanking the Everton striker. He has a bright future ahead of him, and he could lead the Belgian national team in the next few years.
1. Belgium Disappointing
Belgium continued to disappoint against Greece, wasting a valuable opportunity to grab all three points, especially after Tachtsidis’ expulsion early in the second half. For a team that was ranked number one in the world at one point by FIFA, they have looked lacklustre and failed to perform accordingly. They arguably have the best team in the world, sporting names such as Nainggolan, Mertens, Lukaku, and Hazard. Belgium have failed to utilize their superiority in talent so far, and they need to perform better if they wish to pose a threat in the next World Cup.
Belgium XI: Courtois 5; Alderweireld 5.5, Ciman 5.5 (Mirallas 84′, N/A), Vertonghen 5.5; Chadli 5, Fellaini 5 (Dembele 66′, 5.5), Witsel 6, Nainggolan 6, Ferreira Carrasco 5.5, Mertens 5; Lukaku 7
Unused Subs: Mignolet, Sels, Vermaelen, Tielemans, Dendoncker, Foket, Origi, Thorgan Hazard, Batshuayi
Greece XI: Kapino 6; Torosidis 5.5, Manolas 6, Papastaphopoulos 6, Tzavellas 5.5; Mandalos 5.5 (Zeca 84′, N/A), Samaris 5.5, Tachtsidis 5, Stafylidis 5; Mitroglou 6.5 (Vellios 90+’, N/A), Fortounis 5.5 (Tziolis 67′, 5)
Unused Subs: Glykos, Kyriakidis, Ikonomou, Androutsos, Maniatis, Siopis, Diamantakos, Bakasetas, Gianniotas
Referee: Felix Brych
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Cyprus vs Estonia 0-0
Sweden vs Belarus 4-0
Switzerland vs Latvia 1-0
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Luxembourg vs France 1-3
Portugal vs Hungary 3-0
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