Scotland vs. Belgium: Final Score 0-2, Belgium earn a narrow victory in Glasgow

Scott Heavey

Belgium earned a tight victory over Scotland with goals from Steven Defour and Kevin Mirallas.

Scotland started the game with plenty of tenacity and aggression, and although Belgium were enjoying the majority of possession they struggled to create too many clear chances despite their opponents' willingness to come out and play.

The first good chance fell to Kevin de Bruyne in the 20th minute, as a swift Belgian counter-attack left a 3-on-2 on the Scotland centrebacks, but with Marouane Fellaini and Christian Benteke either side in space, De Bruyne elected to shoot, his low effort struck fiercely but straight at David Marshall.

Scotland almost took a surprise lead afterwards, as Charlie Mulgrew was urged to shoot by the home fans, picking up the ball 40 yards from goal, but the Celtic man chose to continue his run, eluding one challenge before setting up his teammate Scott Brown, whose ferocious 30-yard effort whistled just wide of the post with Thibaut Courtois beaten.

De Bruyne had been enduring a slightly frustrating afternoon, his free-roaming role allowing him to find plenty of space around the Scotland defence, but his passing and crossing had been errant. Yet another Belgian counter allowed him to produce a goal, picking up Fellaini's through-ball to race down the left and put in a low cross for Steven Defour, the midfielder pulling off a marvellous finish as he swept it into the bottom corner in his stride.

Scotland looked to be slightly deflated by the goal and came close to conceding again before the halftime whistle gave them an opportunity to regroup. Yet after halftime, they struggled to replicate their former industry, looking distinctly second-best. Belgium could easily have had a penalty after the otherwise-excellent Brown appeared to catch Benteke in the penalty area, but the referee did not spot the incident.

The introduction of Ikechi Anya was promising for Scotland, and his trickery down the left-wing created a pair of chances as the hosts rallied for a late charge on the Belgian goal. His first effort was cut out just before Jordan Rhodes could get to it, before Shaun Maloney put his second over the bar.

Yet as the Scots attacked, Belgium launched an excellent counter-attack to finish the game. An error from Grant Hanley allowed Benteke to slip in Kevin Mirallas, the Everton winger placing his shot past Marshall to give Belgium another fine victory. Scotland looked far better than they did before Gordon Strachan's reign in the group, and it was ultimately a meaningless encounter, but Belgium certainly looked to have enough even when not at their best -- a dangerous trait to have.

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