Kazakhstan 0-2 Belgium: 5 Talking Points from the game | UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers
When Roberto Martinez’s men travelled to the Astana Arena on Saturday to face Kazakhstan, they had already qualified for Euro 2020. Belgium, as such, were aiming to make it 8 wins out of 8 games in the Qualifications stages. And it was hard to imagine Martinez not getting his desired result against a Kazakhstan side who had managed just 2 wins in the qualification process.
Belgium became the first nation to seal qualification to Euro 2020 when they won 9-0 against San Marino in the previous game. The Red Devils were top of Group I before the game and had gathered 21 points from their 7 games, scoring 28 goals and conceding just 1. They had established themselves as one of the favourites for the tournament, and as such, they were looking to carry forward their brilliant run of form against Kazakhstan.
Roberto Martinez was still without midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne for the game, but the Manchester City man’s absence had not affected the team so far. Contrary to expectations, Martinez named quite a strong team for the game.
Belgium Starting XI: Thibault Courtois; Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen; Thorgan Hazard, Dennis Praet, Axel Witsel, Thomas Meunier; Eden Hazard, Michy Batshuayi, Dries Mertens
The home team started the game well and matched Belgium in almost all areas of the pitch. However, the visitors took the lead through Batshuayi in the 21st minute. The first half ended with the visitors leading 1-0. After the break, Belgium hit into a higher gear and doubled their lead through Meunier in the 53rd minute. Belgium went on to win the tie 2-0 and here are 5 talking points from the game.
#5 Kazakhstan’s pressing caused Belgium problems at the start
The home team had a fiery start to proceedings and took the game to the visitors. They had a spring in their steps and closed down Belgium all around the park. Kazakhstan’s intensity and pressing had the Red Devils worried.
Belgium struggled to play their natural game and looked second best during the initial stages. Buoyed by the home support, Kazakhstan put the visitors under a lot of pressure and were on top for the first 20 minutes. However, Batshuayi’s goal knocked the wind out of the home team, who failed to maintain their initial intensity throughout the game.