The Heysel Stadium in Brussels hosted an incredible clash between Belgium and Switzerland on 13th October 2018 in the Round 3 of UEFA Nations League A -- Group 2. The winner would go top of the table.
Both teams came after a comfortable win over Iceland.
In their match, Belgium beat Switzerland by 2-1. The hosts proved their quality was too much for the visitors although the Swiss made the Belgians work hard for the victory.
Manchester United striker, Romelu Lukaku scored a brace in the second half. The winner in the 85th minute was an illustration as to why Belgium are joint top in FIFA World Rankings. A fascinating link-up play between Hazard, Lukaku and Mertens undid a determined Switzerland side.
Imagine having to come up against a front three consisting of magical Hazard, wily Mertens and deadly Lukaku. But the Swiss definitely were not daunted by it and rather played some amazing football with only a lack of finishing hurting them.
A football side with a stark contrast in man to man quality, the visitors were surprisingly controlling much of the first half, with the ball but were failing to do so without it. The Swiss did a commendable job in restricting the Belgians to only long distance shooting. Belgium failed to dominate in the first half as we would have expected for a side that finished third in the World Cup. The first half ended 0-0 much to the disappointment of the Brussels.
A Tactical Nous by Martinez:
The second half was unquestionably different than the first, as the Belgians came out with a much more intent and desire to break the deadlock. Wave after wave of attack was finally rewarded in the 58th minute when Lukaku was left unmarked in the box, thanks to an overload from Meunier and the ball fell kindly for the former to finish.
Sommer, the Swiss keeper, should have kept it out, but the ball crept in through his arms. The visitors found it very difficult to defend Lukaku, who switched to right-side of the attack. A truly tactical masterclass from Roberto Martinez the Swiss couldn't live with.
Spirited Swiss Equalise:
The game was very open now, both teams looking for a goal, Belgium to win it and the Swiss to stay in it. A cheap free-kick was conceded by Carrasco in the 75th minute, just outside the corner of the box. It proved to be very costly indeed as the Swiss capitalised on it expertly. A training ground routine helped the visitors to restore parity.
Shaqiri whipped the ball in and Nico Elvedi assisted the substituting Gavranovic to tap it in. A rare Swiss chance was superbly finished off to tie the score at 1-1.
A Deserved Belgian Victory:
No sooner did the Swiss equalise than the home team took the onus to grab the winner. Chances went begging as ex-captain Kompany headed wide and Lukaku missed from a yard.
But a dazzling move in the 84th minute involving the triumvirate of Hazard, Mertens and Lukaku caused the crowd to go wild. There was no reply from a resilient Switzerland side who were outclassed in the second half.Published 15 Oct 2018, 19:01 IST