Romelu Lukaku emerged as the only bright spot as Czech Republic held Belgium to a 1-1 draw in Prague on Saturday.
Belgium failed to capitalise on their 3-0 win over Wales, as they stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Czech Republic on Saturday. It was a disappointing result for the Red Devils in Prague as it leaves them level on points with their opponents in the Group E table.
The Red Devils, though, were not deserving of all three points either as they struggled to impose their authority on the game for the most part. While they did dominate possession, Roberto Martinez’s men could not create too many goalscoring opportunities, often just relying on the services of Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukau.
After a passive first half, Czech Republic upped the ante after the restart, even finding themselves an opener through Lukas Provod. It was a vicious strike that left Thibaut Courtois clueless, although Belgium do deserve the credit for responding quickly as Romelu Lukaku’s incredible tricks deceived the defence for the equaliser.
The Red Devils, though, could not carry on with their momentum and find the second. In fact, it was the Czechs who caused quite a scare late in the game, although they too weren’t able to find the back of the net. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Belgian players following their disappointing draw with Czech Republic in Prague this weekend.
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
Thibaut Courtois ended up doing much more than he probably had anticipated as Czech Republic created numerous scoring opportunities late in the game. Although the Real Madrid shot-stopper was not able to deny Provod the opener, he made a few fine saves during the dying embers of the game to prevent the opposition from snatching all three points.
+1 point on the road, difficult game today! Let’s focus on Tuesday! 👊🏻🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/glmpd7gqjX
— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) March 28, 2021
Toby Alderweireld: 7.5/10
Toby Alderweireld’s ability to thread useful forward balls gave Belgium a real upper hand in the build-up. One of his long balls forward even led to a chance early on.
Defensively, the Tottenham centre-back fared well when the Czechs did push forward. He made two interceptions, one tackle and four clearances, including a goal-line one in the final minute of the game. By far the best performing Belgian defender on the night.
Jason Denayer: 6/10
Jason Denayer had a difficult game at the heart of the three-man backline. The defender looked rather lazy especially in the instance where he should have closed down Provod, but failed to do so as the attacker fired in the opener. Not the best of performances from the Lyon star.
Jan Vertonghen: 7/10
Jan Vertonghen played a versatile role on the left-hand side of the defence. He was a vital cog in the build-up, as one would expect, threading over 60 completed passes. However, the veteran centre-back also impressed in one-on-one situations, notably winning all of his seven aerial duels while making a total of three interceptions and four clearances.
Timothy Castagne: 6.5/10
Timothy Castagne replaced Thomas Meunier to add more attacking prowess in the right wing-back slot for Belgium. The Leicester City full-back, though, was not quite able to make a real difference in the game, especially when it came to whipping in those crosses into the box for the likes of Lukaku.
Youri Tielemans: 6.5/10
Youri Tielemans did not have as much freedom as he had hoped, up against the likes of Tomas Soucek and Tomas Holes. The Leicester City midfielder did enjoy a lot of possession, but he failed to offer much in terms of creativity. Even the stability in the Belgian midfield was waning during the final phase of the game.
Leander Dendoncker: 6.5/10
Leander Dendoncker was operating as the holding midfielder for Belgium. However, the Wolves star made a number of inspiring runs forward and was even close to finding a goal, although his effort was saved by Tomas Vaclik. Aside from that, the 25-year-old did not offer much to the proceedings.
Nacer Chadi: 6.5/10
Nacer Chadli was given the nod ahead of Thorgan Hazard in the left wing-back slot. The former Tottenham star certainly offered a few incisive overlapping runs on the far side, but just was not able to provide that defence-threading cross for Romelu Lukaku & co. He was taken off around the hour mark.
Kevin de Bruyne: 7/10
Kevin de Bruyne was the creator-in-chief for the away side, as one would expect. Although the Manchester City superstar did not have complete control of the game, he threatened the Czech Republic defence on multiple occasions. He also registered the assist for Lukaku’s goal while hitting the bar once late in the game.
Dries Mertens: 7/10
Dries Mertens was a real asset for Belgium in the attacking third as the veteran striker showcased his experience to not only hold the ball but also create chances for the opposition. Unfortunately, his night was cut short as a sustained injury forced him to make way for Leandro Trossard around the hour mark.
Romelu Lukaku: 8/10
Romelu Lukaku was by far the best performer for Belgium in this fixture. The former Manchester United star offered real quality in the number nine role, using his physicality and work-ethic to good effect. However, it was his marvellous technique that completely bamboozled by the opposing defender for the equaliser. A terrific performance from a terrific striker.
𝐋𝐮𝐤𝐚𝐤𝐮 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐏𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐁𝐞𝐥𝐠𝐢𝐮𝐦 𝐢𝐧 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐮𝐞
The Inter Milan striker has scored 36 goals in his past 31 international apps
— MolaTVSports (@MolaTVSports) March 28, 2021
Leandro Trossard: 6/10
Came on for the injured Mertens around the hour mark, offering more energy in the Belgium attack. However, the Brighton winger did not do enough to cause problems for the opposition.
Thomas Foket: 6/10
Replaced Chadli and operated as a left wing-back for Belgium during the final half-hour. Could not make much of a difference to the proceedings, though.