Football: Praet scores for Belgium in narrow World Cup qualifying victory over Belarus, Football News & Top Stories
KAZAN, RUSSIA (REUTERS) – Dennis Praet’s first-half goal saw Belgium win 1-0 away against Belarus in Kazan on Wednesday (September 8) to move closer to qualifying for world Cup.
The midfielder’s 33rd-minute goal kept Belgium unbeaten in Group E as they climbed to 16 points, nine points ahead of the Czech Republic, who played one game less, and Wales, which has two games down.
Praet turned off Belarusian goalkeeper Sergei Chernik after a short pass from Alexis Saelemaekers, two minutes after Michy Batshuayi had the ball in the net but his shot was ruled offside.
Belgium, at the top of the Fifa table, scored eight goals against Belarus at the start of the World Cup qualifiers in March, but this time looked tired after a third game in six days, having beaten Estonia and the Czech Republic in their two previous qualifiers.
They were without Romelu Lukaku and Jan Vertonghen suspended and chose to spare Thibaut Courtois, Yannick Carrasco and Axel Witsel the long trip to Russia, where Belarus was forced to host the match due to theft sanctions.
Captain Eden Hazard started off the bench and only came on after an hour, but failed to deliver the expected spark. His free kick four minutes from full time, however, forced Chernik to a screeching halt.
Belarus, which did not hamper Belgium in the game, have now lost four of the five qualifications and sit second from the bottom of the group.