Belgium flat in draw with Greece; Turkey roll over Moldova
Sports Desk, Jun 3 (EFE).- Belgium, ranked No. 1 in the world by FIFA, had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Greece on Thursday in their penultimate friendly before Euro 2020.
With the injured Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard under wraps to ensure they recover in time for the start of the postponed European Championships, Red Devils coach Roberto Martinez treated the contest as an opportunity to try out new combinations against a Greek side that failed to qualify for the Euros.
And at the back, he went with Simon Mignolet in goal instead of starter Thibaut Courtois.
The hosts dominated possession behind closed doors at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, yet the visitors put more shots on target.
Thorgan Hazard, Eden’s younger brother, scored in the 19th minute with an assist from Yannick Carrasco, whose confident performance was a bright spot for Belgium.
Martinez would also have been pleased with 19-year-old striker Jeremy Doku, who showed flashes of excellence in only his seventh appearance with the national team.
But the display was not what would have been expected from a squad that finished third in the 2018 World Cup and is expected to contend for the Euro 2020 trophy.
Romelu Lukaku, who was wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of De Bruyne and Hazard, had a lackluster game days after being voted Serie A player of the year for his contributions with title-winners Inter Milan.
Content to sit deep and wait for opportunities, Greece pulled level in the 66th minute, when Georgios Tzavellas scored on the follow-up to a set piece.
Belgium will face Croatia on Sunday in their last tune-up before their Euro 2020 opener against Russia on June 12.
While the Belgians struggled, Turkey coasted to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Moldova in Paderborn, Germany.
Burak Yilmaz, Turkey’s second all-time leading scorer, made it 1-0 in the 58th minute, and Cengiz Under doubled the advantage 20 minutes later.
Yilmaz, who turns 36 next month, is coming off a tremendous campaign with Lille. The veteran scored 16 goals to help the club win Ligue 1. EFE jaf-jv/dr