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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

Bellingham spares Southgate's blushes with last kick of the game equaliser in 2-2 draw at home to Belgium

England v Belgium   Picture: Paul Lagan
England v Belgium Picture: Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Wembley Stadium

England 2 v Belgium 2


England's Euro 24 credentials took another knock tonight but they just about managed to avoid a successive defeat – Jude Bellingham coolly slotted home a 95th minute equaliser with the last kick of the match in a 2-2 draw with Belgium.

In truth, had the Three Lions lost this friendly, there would be few complaints.

England were the architects of their own downfall through goalkeeper Jordan Pickford miskicking a basic clearance and Youri Tielemans gleefully embarrassed the home side by sliding the ball home.

He notched the second when centre-back Lewis Dunk failed to deal with a quick counter-attack, allowing Romelu Lukaku to set up up his brace.

In-between Ivan Toney smashed home a penalty.

It was an early departure for John Stones, who looked like he sustained a groin injury when stretching for the ball.

Gareth Southgate took no chances and on came Joe Gomez on 10 minutes.

Jordan Pickford then produced a howler that put the visitors ahead.

A kick out by the Everton stopper was intercepted by Amadou Onana, who tapped it on to by Youri Tielemans – he took one touch before rolling the ball into the back of Pickford's net.

Brentford's Ivan Toney, on 15 minutes attempted to latch onto a through ball by Jude Bellingham. He tussled with Jan Vertonghen, and hit the deck. Referee Sebastian Gishamer pointed to the spot.

VAR of course had a look and gave the decision.

Up stepped Toney to send Matz Sels the wrong way and level the score.

Pickford partially redeemed him self on 20 minutes when he dived .low to his left and parried away an excellent Jeremy Doku shot after the Man City man got free on the right, before cutting inside and trying his luck.

England took the lead or so they thought, on 27 minutes and it was so simple, one wonders why other teams don't do kit.

A regulation corner by Phil Foden on the right was met by the head of Lewis Dunk at the far post. He nodded the ball on and the tapped home from close range

VAR again had a look and adjudged two players were offside, and so the goal was chalked off.

A nice quick break by the Three Lions on 33 mi jutes saw Foden set up Bowen again on the right but he sliced his curler over the bar.

Bellingham, who had been cursing his game all evening had the chance to score a mi jute later when a poor kick out by Sels was intercepted quickly and the Real Madrid man raced onto the ball but whacked it over the crossbar when a calmer response might have yielded better dividends.

But the Belgium raced up the other end and with Dunk exposed , ex-Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku picked it it and sent a lovely outside of his left boot, out swinger than landed perfectly on the head of Tielemans who tucked the ball into the empty net to restore the lead.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

Toney looked the man most likely to get England back in the game and his goal-bound shot, on 52 minutes saw Sels produce a fine save to push the ball away for a corner.

Bellingham was next to miss another sitter three minutes later, when a clipped ball by Gomez was met on the head by Bellingham, but he misdirected the ball well wide.

Some excellent set-up play by England, especially by Foden saw Bowen have a snap shot on goal, on n63 minutes, again Sels was equal to that task.

The paper planes from the crowd started to appear round this time – always a signal that the fans were getting restless and bored.

Kobbie Mainoo got in on the act at the end of another counter-attack – Sels blocked the low drive.

Gomez got a needless yellow card for tripping live wire Doku.

The existing 11 players were not getting the side back in the game, so Southgate decided to use the bench – on came James Maddison for Mainoo with 17 minutes left.

Bowen and Foden combined again on 79 minutes but the Man City midfielder's left-footed slicer inched wide of Sels' left-hand post.

Off went Bowen after this, on came Anthony Gordon. He was followed by Toney who saw Ollie Watkins get another run out up top.

Then Bellingham showed his class, taking a byline cutback from Maddison and stroking home from close range.

Teams: England: Pickford, Konsa, Chilwell, Stones, Dunk, Foden, Bellingham, Toney, Bowen, Mainoo

Subs: Ramsdale, Trafford, Gallagher, Watkins, Gordon, Gomez, Henderson, Branthwaite, Lewis, Rashford, Maddison, Palmer

Belgium: Sels, Debast, Theate, Vertonghen, Onana, Doku, Tielemans, Lukaku, Trossard, Mangala, Castagne

Subs: Kaminski, Bodart, Faes, Openda, Lukebaklo, Meunier, Deman, Bakayoko, Vermeeren, Vranckx, Batshuayi, De Winter

Referee: Sebastian Gishamer (Austria)

Read Yann Tear's talking points here


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