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Scots downed by classy Belgium

07 Sep 2013 00:31:53

Scots downed by classy Belgium

Scotland were defeated but not disgraced by Belgium as they slumped to a 2-0 loss in the World Cup qualifier at Hampden.

Victory in the last qualifier in Croatia, coupled with a decent display in a friendly against England, meant morale was high within the Tartan Army ahead of this match.

But a goal in each half from Steven Defour and Kevin Mirallas secured victory for Belgium and ensured they took another massive step towards Brazil by remaining at the top of Group A.

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan made three changes from the meeting at Wembley last month, with goalkeeper David Marshall, Charlie Mulgrew and Leigh Griffiths added to the side.

Marshall replaced Allan McGregor between the sticks, with the regular first choice both suspended and injured, while the back four remained the same with Alan Hutton, Russell Martin, Grant Hanley and Steven Whittaker given the nod.

As well as Mulgrew, the midfield comprised Shaun Maloney, Scott Brown, Robert Snodgrass and James Forrest, with Griffiths tasked with leading the line ahead of Jordan Rhodes.

Belgium headed into the match without injury doubt Eden Hazard, who failed to make the squad.

Belgium fired out an early warning when Kevin De Bruyne's corner was bundled just past the post from close range by Christian Benteke as the visitors exerted some early pressure.

There was another close call when Nacer Chadli whipped a tempting ball to the back post where Marouane Fellaini nodded just wide of the target, with the ball taking a slight deflection off Whittaker.

Scotland were dealt a blow when Robert Snodgrass picked up a booking after nine minutes for a foul on Axel Witsel, ruling him out of next week's qualifier in Macedonia, before he was the victim of a challenge that earned Fellaini a caution moments later.


PA

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