Hans Vanaken, Dennis Praet and Jeremy Doku impress as Belgium make a statement with an 8-0 triumph over Belarus.
Belgium sign off the international break in an emphatic fashion by securing an 8-0 win over Belarus on Tuesday. The result in Leuven helps them move on top of Group E in the European leg of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers after Czech Republic lost to Wales.
Belgium were completely all over their eastern European rivals, dominating the game right from the beginning with their long spells of possession and relentless attacks. They eventually found the breakthrough in the 14th minute via Michy Batshuayi with a goal from Hans Vanaken minutes later helping them impose their authority on the proceedings.
Belgians further dug into the Belarus defence with goals from Leandro Trossard and Jeremy Doku just before half-time, securing a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Roberto Martinez’s men continued to be relentless after the break as well, as Dennis Praet’s long-range effort led to the fifth. The sixth goal was scored by substitute Christian Benteke before both Trossard and Vanaken doubled their tally to add the final gloss to the scoreline, remorselessly so.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at how the Belgian players fared in their thumping 8-0 win over Belarus this midweek.
Simon Mignolet: 6/10
It was a walk in the park Simon Mignolet who had absolutely nothing to do as Belarus only attempted four shots on goal, none of which was on target. As such, the Belgian goalkeeper was mostly tasked with the responsibility of distributing possession during the early stages of the build-up play.
Toby Alderweireld: 9/10
Toby Aldeiweireld was by far the pick of the Belgian defenders in this comprehensive win over Belarus, mostly because he was more involved in the approach play going forward. In fact, the veteran Spurs centre-back registered the assist for Christian Benteke’s late goal with a lovely long ball. He was also very solid defensively, using his experience to good effect.
– Goal and an assist
– Two goals
– Goal and an assist
– Assist and a clean sheet
Belgium's Premier League contingent were in fine form against Belarus. pic.twitter.com/EMqOGaPlE6
— bet365 (@bet365) March 30, 2021
Jason Denayer: 7/10
Jason Denayer certainly wasn’t the most active Belgian players in the win over Belarus as he mostly had to remain strong at the heart of the three-man backline. The Lyon man was eventually taken off at half-time as he made way for Dedryck Boyata.
Jan Vertonghen: 8/10
Jan Vertonghen also offered the composure in the Belgium backline, with his positioning on the left-hand channel giving Thorgan Hazard the license to act more or less as a full-fledged attacker. Kept things neat and tidy in the build-up, helping his team cruise to an easy victory.
Thomas Meunier: 8.5/10
It was an eventful evening for Thomas Meunier who found a lot of freedom due to Belgium’s lion share of possession. He made numerous overlapping runs on the right flank, offering the width in the Belgium attack. The Dortmund star most notably produced a sumptuous cross to find Vanaken for the second goal.
Dennis Praet: 9.5/10
Oh Dennis Praet you Beauty. pic.twitter.com/8sUKCrZJr2
— Jack (@JackWhitman_7) March 30, 2021
Midfielders were the real protagonists in this comprehensive performance from Belgium, with Dennis Praet, for one, ruling the middle of the park with his work-rate, dynamism and creativity. The long spells of possession helped the Leicester City star to dominate the game, with the former Anderlecht star notably assisting Doku’s goal before netting one himself from long range.
Hans Vanaken: 10/10
Much like Praet, Hans Vanaken ruled the midfield with his combination play and driving runs into the final third. While his assist for the Trossard goal was not really an assist, the midfielder did score twice including a brilliant close-range effort to find the second goal for his team. The Club Brugge star makes a strong case for being the best player of the match.
Hans Vanaken vs. Belarus:
94% pass accuracy
117 touches (most)
5 shots (most)
5 shots on target (most)
2 chances created
Enjoyed himself this evening. pic.twitter.com/E7o3vPjZDk
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 30, 2021
Thorgan Hazard: 7.5/10
Thorgan Hazard may not have been directly involved in any of the Belgium goals but his dynamism and offensive positioning played a key role in helping his teammates penetrate the opposing lines. It is also fair to point out that he operated in a deeper role.
Leandro Trossard: 9.5/10
Leandro Trossard caused Belarus all sorts of problems with his movements down the right flank. He was unpredictable and offered excellent creative support in the final third, freeing Meunier numerous times with balls in behind the backline. The Brighton attacker also scored twice, one of which was a blast from long-range that completely deceived Aleksandr Gutor.
Michy Batshuayi: 8/10
Michy Batshuayi was given the nod ahead of Christian Benteke and despite missing a glorious early opportunity, the former Dortmund striker led the line with aplomb. His vicious strike helped the Belgians find the all-important opener. He also bagged an assist before making way for Benteke around the hour-mark.
Michy Batshuayi’s last four games for Belgium:
⚽️⚽️ vs. Iceland
⚽️ vs. Ivory Coast
⚽️⚽️ vs. Switzerland
⚽️ vs. Belarus
He now has 22 goals in 33 games for the national side. pic.twitter.com/FA0aNi4enP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 30, 2021
Jeremy Doku: 10/10
Jeremy Doku was among the standout performers for Belgium in this emphatic win. Starting on the left hand side, the young winger was a menace for the opposing defence due to his pace, trickery and ability to drift into the central areas of the pitch before finding key passes in behind the backline. He registered two assists including the one for the opening goal from Batshuayi while scoring Belgium’s fourth of the night.
Dedryck Boyata: 7/10
Dedryck Boyata replaced Denayer at the start of the second half, stepping into the three-man backline effortlessly. It was a welcome appearance for a defender who has struggled with injuries for the most part of the campaign.
Leander Dendoncker: 7/10
Leander Dendoncker came on for Vertonghen in the 64th minute, operating in a more defensive role and helping his team see out the game.
Christian Benteke: 7.5/10
Christian Benteke scored a welcome goal in the 70th minute, capitalising on an excellent cross from Alderweireld.
Youri Tielemans: 7/10
A late replacement for Praet. Kept things neat and tidy in the approach play and in possession.
Adnan Januzaj: 7.5/10
A late replacement for Doku. Registered the assist for the late Vanaken goal with a selfless cross.