Lukaku & Hazard score for Belgium as Scotland suffer heaviest home loss in 45 years


Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring with his 41st international goal

Alex McLeish suffered his fourth defeat in five games in charge as Scotland were thrashed 4-0 by ruthless Belgium.

The Scots competed in the first half, albeit they trailed at the break after John McGinn was robbed at the edge of his own box and Romelu Lukaku scored.

But they collapsed after the interval. Eden Hazard lashed in before Michy Batshuayi added two more – both after the Scots gave away the ball.

It was Scotland’s biggest home defeat since England won 5-0 in February 1973.

McLeish’s side begin their Nations League campaign on Monday, with early group leaders Albania visiting Hampden after they beat Israel 1-0.

A victory in Hungary is the only success of McLeish’s second stint in charge, with the Scots failing to score in defeats by Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, and now Belgium.

Delusional McLeish a collective death wish

Belgium took a little while to catch Scotland with the first of the howitzer blows, but when the first one landed there was a certainty of more. Many more.

The Belgians, with Hazard lording it over all others, are good enough to unpick most defences, but when those defences have a death wish, as Scotland had, then a rout is guaranteed. As sure as a greyhound courses a hare, McLeish’s team were chased around a sparsely attended Hampden in front of 20,196 spectators.

If you were a Belgian, it was pretty and what you would have expected from your boys. If you were a Scot it was painful, an evisceration of McLeish’s notion that his team were good enough to go “toe-to-toe” with the third best team in the world. Delusional.

Just before the half-hour, Belgium got their first. Craig Gordon unwisely rolled the ball out to McGinn, who was facing his own goal and unaware of the danger he was in. His first touch was a total calamity and allowed Mousa Dembele to ransack him and feed Thorgan Hazard, who calmly rolled it across for Lukaku to score his 41st international goal.

The torture was only just beginning. Gordon took out Timothy Castagne and yet, by some miracle, Italian referee Luca Banti did not give a penalty. Then Gordon turned an Eden Hazard header on to a post.

A minute into the second half, Hazard blasted the second goal right over Gordon’s head and into his net. Soon after, Charlie Mulgrew’s aimless ball out of defence fell to Dembele, who gave it to Hazard. The attacker slipped in Batshuayi in for the third.

More soft touch stuff cost Scotland a fourth when Ryan Jack was robbed by Youri Tielemans and the Monaco man teed up by Batshuayi to blast a shot low past Gordon.

At 4-0, Belgium relaxed and the Scots carved out a few chances. They did not give up. That is about as much as you can say for them.

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‘McLeish has psychological job to do’ – analysis

That Scotland got annihilated by the Belgians is not a surprise. They are not the first side to suffer at the hands of Roberto Martinez’s team and they will not be the last.

There is a very legitimate question to ask about why the Scottish Football Association offered up the national team as lambs to the slaughter against such a lethal team just a few days before their opening Nations League fixture, but the damage has been done. It is too late to bemoan that. What is relevant now is the impact all of this might have on the confidence of the team before the arrival of Albania.

The Albanians have a world ranking of 58, but even a side of fairly modest talents would surely have taken advantage of the kind of crass mistakes that Scotland made on Friday.

McLeish could have done without this match against a formidable opponent. It has done nothing but damage. The Scotland manager does not just have a tactical game plan to put together before Monday. After such a chastening experience, he has a psychological job to do, too.

The game in numbers

  • Scotland have now lost three consecutive home matches – the joint-worst run in their history
  • Martinez has won three-quarters of his games in charge of Belgium (21/28). Seven (33%) have been by a margin of four goals or more
  • Scotland have lost each of their last four games against Belgium, failing to score on each occasion
  • Lukaku has scored 18 goals in his last 16 international appearances
  • Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 27 goals in his last 26 matches for Belgium (13 goals, 14 assists)
  • Batshuayi has scored eight of his 10 goals for Belgium after coming on as a substitute

Callum McGregor<!–

Scotland kept going, but were overwhelmed by Belgium

Live Text

Match ends, Scotland 0, Belgium 4.

Second Half ends, Scotland 0, Belgium 4.

Attempt missed. Ryan Fraser (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Steven Naismith.

Offside, Belgium. Dedryck Boyata tries a through ball, but Michy Batshuayi is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Jan Vertonghen (Belgium) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Thomas Meunier.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Jack (Scotland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Johnny Russell (Scotland) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Graeme Shinnie.

Dedryck Boyata (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Steven Naismith (Scotland).

Substitution, Belgium. Birger Verstraete replaces Mousa Dembélé.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Thibaut Courtois.

Attempt saved. Ryan Fraser (Scotland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Steven Naismith.

Corner, Belgium. Conceded by Kieran Tierney.

Mousa Dembélé (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Jack (Scotland).

Youri Tielemans (Belgium) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ryan Jack (Scotland).

Attempt missed. Thomas Meunier (Belgium) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right.

Substitution, Scotland. Graeme Shinnie replaces John McGinn.

Jan Vertonghen (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Robert Snodgrass (Scotland).

Attempt missed. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Hans Vanaken with a through ball.

Substitution, Scotland. Johnny Russell replaces Callum McGregor.

Substitution, Scotland. Stephen O’Donnell replaces Charlie Mulgrew.

Attempt saved. Steven Naismith (Scotland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Callum McGregor.

Goal! Scotland 0, Belgium 4. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Youri Tielemans.

Foul by Mousa Dembélé (Belgium).

John McGinn (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Scotland. Robert Snodgrass tries a through ball, but Ryan Fraser is caught offside.

Substitution, Belgium. Hans Vanaken replaces Eden Hazard.

Jan Vertonghen (Belgium) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Steven Naismith (Scotland).

Attempt missed. Steven Naismith (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Substitution, Scotland. Ryan Jack replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Substitution, Scotland. Robert Snodgrass replaces Kevin McDonald.

Goal! Scotland 0, Belgium 3. Michy Batshuayi (Belgium) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

Goal! Scotland 0, Belgium 2. Eden Hazard (Belgium) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Yannick Carrasco.

Second Half begins Scotland 0, Belgium 1.

Substitution, Belgium. Yannick Carrasco replaces Dries Mertens.

Substitution, Belgium. Thomas Meunier replaces Timothy Castagne.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45364330

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