Jude Bellingham

England 2 – 2 Belgium Review

On Tuesday, a last-gasp equalising goal from Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham secured the Three Lions a draw against Domenico Tedesco’s Red Devils at Wembley Stadium.

The final international break of the 2023/24 football season is now over for England after Gareth Southgate’s side came face to face with a Belgium side led by Head Coach Domenico Tedesco under the arch at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night. This was the second friendly over the last week, with the Three Lions already having secured their place in the 2024 European Championships in Germany.

Ahead of their game against the Belgian Red Devils, England had faced five time World Champions Brazil at Wembley in their first of two friendlies in the March international break. Unfortunately for the home team, despite creating a very decent number of chances, Southgate’s side unfortunately fell to a 1 – 0 defeat against the Seleção thanks to a late goal from Real Madrid bound striker Endrick (80’).

Coming into this game against Belgium, England were looking to end the international break on a high. A number of players, including Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo, Brentford’s Ivan Toney, and Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa, were looking to impress and increase their chances of making the squad that is heading for the latest edition of the European Championships, which get underway in June 2024.

In the end, in what was a tight, tense, and competitive game under the arch, England and European rivals Belgium played out a 2 – 2 draw on Tuesday evening. The Three Lions were heading for a 2 – 1 defeat, but they were saved by a very late equalising goal from a certain Real Madrid midfielder in second-half stoppage time.

Following an opening first ten minutes that produced no big chances, the first one to be created came not long after 10 minutes had elapsed, and it resulted in the opening goal. After a mistake from Everton’s Jordan Pickford, who gave the ball away from a goal kick, the ball found its way to Villa midfielder Youri Tielemans, who fired the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 1 – 0 to Tedesco’s Belgium (11’).

However, to the relief of all of an England persuasion, the wait for the equalising goal from the Three Lions would not last long in the end. A few minutes after Tielemans scored the Belgian’s opening goal of the contest, former Tottenham Hotspur central defender Jan Vertonghen gave away a penalty kick after being found to have fouled Ivan Toney in the penalty box. The Bees forward went on to successfully place the ball past Belgium Goalkeeper Matz Sels and into the bottom left corner of his net (17’).

It was then almost 2 – 1 to the visitors through Manchester City forward Jeremy Doku, but England ‘keeper Jordan Pickford was there to stop him thanks to a tremendous save (20’). Then, a few moments later, the home side thought that they had just taken the lead themselves thanks to West Ham United forward Jarrod Bowen, but his goal was ruled out by VAR for offside (26’).

Unfortunately for England, Belgium were able to take the lead once more just before half time, and it was Tielemans who scored again. The Villa midfielder found the bottom left corner following a quick and flowing Belgian attack that eventually found Youri Tielemans in the right place at the right time in the penalty area (36’).

Jude Bellingham (45+2’) and Jarrod Bowen (45+3’) were then both denied thanks to two tremendous saves from Sels, who prevented the ball from finding the bottom left corner and the bottom right corner, respectively.

The half-time whistle then came with England being left with work to do, with them 2 – 1 behind against Belgium at the break.

Southgate’s Three Lions did have the opening opportunity of the second half through Toney, but Ivan’s effort failed to find the net as it was blocked by the Belgian backline, as was an effort from Ben Chilwell just seconds later (49’).

Toney did then force a fantastic save from Nottingham Forest Goalkeeper Matz Sels just a few moments later, but the Belgian Stopper was once again able to prevent the ball from finding the back of his net, with this particular shot looking like it would find the bottom right corner (52’).

England debutant Kobbie Mainoo was having a simply stunning senior debut with the Three Lions, and he almost created the equaliser for this team when he found Bowen in the box with a sumptuous pass, but the West Ham forward failed to find the net, with Sels making the save (63’).

Mainoo, a few moments later, then had an opportunity of his own to score the goal that would restore parity in this match, only for Sels to be there again with yet another superb save just a few minutes after he had almost created an equalising goal (66’).

Both sides then had chances over the next twenty minutes of the match, and England’s next significant chance came courtesy of Manchester City’s Phil Foden, who had his shot blocked again by the Belgian backline (90+3’).

Former Birmingham City, Borussia Dortmund and current Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham was the scorer of the equalising goal, restoring parity to the relief of all of an England persuasion that Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium. Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins was a late substitute on the night, keeping the ball in play before Spurs’ James Maddison found Bellingham, who, in turn, found the bottom right corner of Selz’s net to restore parity at 2 apiece in the final moments of second half stoppage time (90+5’).

The full time whistle then went, with England and Belgium having played out a tense and exciting 2 – 2 draw at Wembley.

It was the hosts who had the most possession, with the Three Lions having 63% of the ball in comparison to the Red Devils, who had 37% of the ball. Gareth Southgate’s side also had the most efforts on target on that night, with 7 of their 19 total shots finding the target compared to 3 of a total of 7 for Belgium overall.

This is what England Head Coach Gareth Southgate had to say following this match (via BBC Sport): “Jude, of course, is the headline. That competitive spirit, that desire not to lose, desire to win in the end, was decisive in getting the late goal.

“But I thought the whole team showed that throughout the game and recovered from setbacks with a pretty inexperienced team, really, against a team that have got some very, very good players. Very pleased with a lot of what I saw tonight.”

The March international break is the final one of the 2023/24 season, and now excitement and anticipation are building ahead of the resumption of the 2023/24 Premier League season on Saturday, 30th March 2024.

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