Men's National Team

UNL: Dominant Red Devils Thrash Poland in Brussels

Belgium handed a heavy defeat to visitors Poland in Brussels on Wednesday / Getty
UNL: Dominant Red Devils Thrash Poland in Brussels

BRUSSELS, Belgium. June 8 (AFP) – Belgium tore Poland apart to win their UEFA Nations League match 6:1 in Brussels on Wednesday.

Final score: Belgium – Poland 6:1

Belgium lost their opening game to neighbours Netherlands but responded with an increasingly dominant performance and finished the game with five goals in just over 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Poland won their first game with Wales but failed to properly compete in Brussels.

The Bialo-czerwoni made sure to give the Belgians another early setback on Wednesday, as the visitors took the lead after 28 minutes when star striker Robert Lewandowski struck with his 22nd goal for club and country in 2022. The Bayern Munich attacker controlled a pass from Sebastian Szymanski in mid-air and then poked it past the on-rushing Simon Mignolet with the outside of his left boot.

Despite this, the hosts levelled three minutes before half time.

Kevin de Bruyne cut through the Polish defence. After his drive was parried, Timothy Castagne rolled the ball back to Axel Witsel who swerved a drive inside the post.

Belgium took the lead after 59 minutes on the counter-attack. Captain Eden Hazard found De Bruyne free in the box and he slid a shot past Bartlomiej Dragowski. Hazard, who struggled with injury at Real Madrid this season and was an unused substitute in the Champions League final, came off after 66 minutes. He was replaced with Leandro Trossard, who scored twice in seven minutes.

Defender Leander Dendoncker then struck his first international goal from long range.

Lois Openda, who came off the bench to make his international debut with six minutes left, rounded off the rout in added time.

“It was a match that will give us a lot to think about, a lot of question marks in various parts of our game plan and overall strategy, but also a lesson on how to play against such teams,” said Lewandowski.

Belgium, who lost their Group 4 opener to the Netherlands, sit second behind their neighbours and ahead of Poland on goal difference.

“We often lacked the strength to go out and hold the ball. The Belgians did not play with any high pressing, but at the same time we did not look for ways to stay on the ball, to play faster. We were far too static.” added the Polish captain.

With the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November, Poland have been drawn in a group with Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Argentina.

“It’s a bitter evening for us. I told the players that this was a game that would stay in us for a long time, but we had to do something to remember the moments when we were doing well. We don’t want to limit ourselves to only the bad parts.”, said Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz.

“As time went by, we lost our strength. A few simple mistakes drove the Belgians forward. The goals then came raining down on us. Each time we put our head up, we conceded. Everything was quick in this match. At times, perhaps too fast for us.” he ended.

Poland play the Netherlands next on June 11 in Rotterdam and later again Belgium on June 14 in Warsaw.

_______________________________________

Belgium – Poland 6:1 (1:1)
Goals: Witsel 42′, De Bruyne 59′, Trossard 73′, 80′, Dendoncker 83′, Openda 90′ – Lewandowski 28′

Yellow carded: Witsel – Krychowiak
Referee: Ivan Kružliak (Slovakia)
Attendance: 27 409

Belgium: 12. Simon Mignolet – 19. Leander Dendoncker, 2. Toby Alderweireld, 5. Jan Vertonghen – 21. Timothy Castagne (84, 16. Thorgan Hazard), 6. Axel Witsel (84, 22. Wout Faes), 8. Youri Tielemans, 7. Kevin De Bruyne (75, 18. Charles De Ketelaere), 10. Eden Hazard (66, 17. Leandro Trossard), 11. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco – 23. Michy Batshuayi (84, 9. Loïs Openda)

Poland: 22. Bartłomiej Drągowski – 16. Robert Gumny, 15. Kamil Glik, 5. Jan Bednarek, 4. Tymoteusz Puchacz (46, 18. Bartosz Bereszyński) – 13. Jakub Kamiński (81, 21. Nicola Zalewski), 6. Szymon Żurkowski, 10. Grzegorz Krychowiak (46, 17. Damian Szymański), 20. Piotr Zieliński, 19. Sebastian Szymański (66, 2. Matty Cash) – 9. Robert Lewandowski (69, 7. Adam Buksa)

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