England 2-2 Belgium (Mar 26, 2024) Game Analysis

Jude Bellingham struck in stoppage time to earn an impressive England a 2-2 Wembley draw with Belgium on Tuesday after a Youri Tielemans double had threatened a smash and grab victory in an entertaining friendly.

Tielemans struck in the 11th minute after a mis-hit clearance by England keeper Jordan Pickford, with Ivan Toney equalising with a penalty soon after on his first international start.

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It was harsh on England, who looked unrecognisable in approach from the side beaten by Brazil on Saturday, and they fully deserved their last-gasp equaliser.

“I knew the rubbish we would’ve got if we had lost two games on the bounce,” Bellingham said.

“We should be winning with all the chances we’ve made but these are two games that will stand us in good stead. I know people will be negative but we have to take the positives.

“I’m sure the manager will be happy with how we played. You’re never happy with a loss or a draw but we have to be happy with how we played.”

Jude Bellingham celebrates his last-gasp equaliser for England against Belgium.

Michael Regan – The FA/The FA via Getty Images


One thing Southgate won’t be happy with was the early withdrawal of John Stones, who picked up an adductor injury and was replaced by Joe Gomez, adding to England‘s potential issues in defence after Kyle Walker was injured in the match against Brazil.

The match between third-ranked England and their fourth-ranked opponents had a completely different feel to Saturday’s flat affair, where England barely mustered a shot against Brazil and the tone was set after 20 seconds when Toney fired over from a Jarrod Bowen cross.

Belgium, sporting a bizarre kit of light blue shirts and brown shorts against England’s charcoal grey, went ahead when a mis-hit clearance by Jordan Pickford went straight to Amadou Onana and then fell for Tielemans who stroked it into the empty net.

England hit back from the penalty spot within six minutes after Jan Vertonghen brought down Toney and the Brentford striker marked his first start with his first goal via his trademark two stride approach.

With his rivals as back up to the injured Harry Kane failing to make much of a case, it was a huge moment for Toney and his hopes of making the Euros squad.

Bowen thought he had also made a case when he nodded in from close range after a 26th-minute corner but the goal was ruled out for offside.

England, however, were playing with an energy and vibrancy that was so painfully absent on Saturday as Bowen and Bellingham both shot over from good positions.

But it was another mistake by centre back Lewis Dunk — who was at fault for Brazil’s winner — that let Belgium in again. Romelu Lukaku took advantage to clip in a sumptuous cross with the outside of the foot that an unmarked Tielemans met with a diving header after 36 minutes.

England continued to create chances in the second half with Toney, Bellingham and Foden going close and the remarkable 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo making an irresistible case for a Euros berth.

Belgium defended well, however, and looked to have done enough until the hosts launched a final attack down the left with substitute James Maddison whipping in a low cross that the hugely impressive Bellingham coolly slotted in.

It sent England’s fans home happy but also meant Belgium extended their unbeaten run to 12 games under coach Domenico Tedesco.