Belgium and Greece had to share the points after playing out a hard fought 1-1 draw at the King Baudouin Stadium, which saw 2 Greek players get sent off
Both sides played out a mostly uneventful first half. Greece seemed content to sit back and defend for large periods of the game and soak up the pressure from the Belgians. Greece barely left their own half in the first 45 minutes and their longest spell of possession perhaps lasted a minute.
The only major events in the first half were the silly bookings Marouane Fellaini, Panagiotis Tachtsidis and Georgios Tzavellas picked up. These bookings would later come to haunt the Greeks in the second half.
Kostas Mitroglou put Greece ahead 19 seconds after the restart and it would take the the hosts 44 minutes to get back into the game. Belgium began showing a lot more urgency toward the end of the second half and Romelu Lukaku eventually brought them back level in the 89th minute with a superb goal.
Roberto Martinez expressed his frustration at the result in his post match comments, but expressed his relief at avoiding defeat. It was a very physical competition, with a total of 34 fouls being conceded over the course of the game by both sides and Martinez slammed the visitors for their approach.
According to Goal, he said: “I’ve got mixed emotions. There are many frustrations, also about the pitch. But I’m glad we have avoided defeat. The performance wasn’t enough for a home game, but Greece played a very ugly, physical game.”
Belgium were clearly missing the creativity and talent of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, who were both out injured and Martinez admitted to the same. “Of course we missed Hazard and De Bruyne,” he said.”Any team would do, not just us.”
Greece had only 29% of possession throughout the entire game and in the 65th minute, Tachtsidis was sent off leaving the visitors to fend for themselves for the next 25 minutes, and they defended brilliantly until the equaliser.
They had 9 men behind the ball and had essentially parked the bus, but couldn’t prevent Lukaku’s equaliser. Unfortunately, Manolas and Lukaku would exchange words and then Tzavellas’ involvement in the scuffle would be him get sent off and the Greeks would finish the game with 9 men.
Michael Skibbe was largely pleased with his side’s performance despite the bookings and insisted that anything was possible in their Group.
“I am very satisfied,” Skibbe said in his post match comments. “The point is good and the boys carried out the plan to bring us the prize. The group remains open. We have to go from match to match and play like we know we can,” he said, before adding: “I don’t want to talk about the red cards.”
As things stand, Belgium are at the top of Group H with 13 points and Greece are at a close second with 11 points their name. They are followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina at third place, who have 10 points.