Michy Batshuayi scored the decisive goal as Belgium completed the double over Poland in their UEFA Nations League fixture in Warsaw.
Michy Batshuayi was the hero for Belgium as they secured a key 1-0 win over Poland on Tuesday night. This is the Red Devils’ second win of their UEFA Nations League campaign and keeps them on the tail of group leaders, the Netherlands.
Playing in front of a boisterous Warsaw crowd, Belgium had to put up against a Polish side that deployed a high line and took the game to them. Thankfully for the visitors, the home side were unable to make their chances count.
Poland kept pushing and continued to carve out several chances for themselves. The closest they came to getting anything from the game was when Karol Swiderski’s stoppage-time header struck the woodwork. At the other end, Lois Openda and Leandro Trossard both had opportunities to put the game to bed but showed a similar level of profligacy to keep Poland in the game.
With just three points separating the Netherlands and Belgium and two games remaining, the group looks set for a grandstand finish. Both the giants of European football will play against each other in September in what could be a six-pointer.
🗒️ REPORT: Belgium earned their second win of the campaign and moved three points clear of Poland in second place in Group A4 after Michy Batshuayi's header secured victory…#NationsLeague
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 14, 2022
For now, Roberto Martinez’s side can marvel at themselves for a job well done. Travelling to Warsaw is not an easy task, but a Belgium side lacking some of their best players rose to the challenge and came home with all three points to show for their efforts. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Belgian players fared on the night.
Simon Mignolet: 6/10
A rare start for the former Liverpool man who did well under pressure to come away with a clean sheet. Mignolet, to his credit, did not let the atmosphere get to him and was largely calm under pressure. His distribution was nothing to write home about, but Mignolet did little to put himself or his side under pressure.
Jan Vertonghen: 6/10
The veteran did well on the night and largely kept Piotr Zielinski quiet. The Benfica star’s experience was clear as he read the game well and largely nipped any danger in the bud. Vertonghen also went close at the other end as his shot was deflected just away from the left bottom corner.
Toby Alderweireld: 6/10
The former Tottenham man had a difficult time against Robert Lewandowski but also held his own against the Polish colossus. Alderweireld kept calm under pressure and did not let the occasion get to him. While it was far from a perfect performance, he did enough to keep the home side at bay.
Leander Dendoncker: 6/10
The Wolverhampton Wanderers man started on the right side of a three-man backline and struggled initially in the opening stages. He got calmer as the game went on and communicated well with Mignolet and Alderweireld to hold the defensive shape. Dendoncker also linked up well with Timothy Castagne on the right flank.
Thorgan Hazard: 6.5/10
The younger Hazard brother enjoyed a lively start to the game and forced Wojciech Szczesny into a good save early on. He linked up well with his brother on the left and showed positional awareness on the night. Thorgan Hazard also went close with an attempt in the second half but saw his strike go just wide of the left post. He was taken off for Thomas Foket after the hour mark.
Axel Witsel: 5/10
The veteran was a doubt before the game but got the nod to start. Witsel was not at his best and struggled at times to keep up with Poland’s good start to the game. He lasted just one half before being taken off for Hans Vanaken at the break. Whether it was a tactical switch or something related to his fitness needs to be ascertained.
Youri Tielemans: 7/10
The Leicester City man was coming off his heroics against Wales and did a job once again on the night. He kept things simple in midfield and got forward whenever possible. His cross to find Batshuayi for Belgium’s winner was spot on and made the difference on the night. While he did blow hot and cold at times, Tielemans more than held his own against the Polish pressure.
🇧🇪 Youri Tielemans vs. Poland
🅰️ 1 assist
💨 2 successful dribbles
🥷 3 interceptions
🔑 4 key passes
🤝 5 accurate long balls
🎯 94% passing (88/94)
Huge performance 💪 pic.twitter.com/H3Ilg4bB3i
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) June 14, 2022
Timothy Castagne: 6/10
A steady if unspectacular performance by the Leicester City man. He got forward when needed and was not too shabby and defensive either. Castagne also linked up well with his club teammate Tielemans.
Eden Hazard: 6.5/10
The Real Madrid man is slowly yet steadily getting into his element and gave a good show on the night. Hazard also showed off his clinical ability by chipping Wojciech Szczesny in goal. Unfortunately for him, it was ruled out for offside. The veteran linked up well with Mertens and Batshuayi before being taken off in the 67th minute.
Dries Mertens: 6/10
The veteran looked up for the game and did a good job of running into channels. However, he lacked the killer instinct and did not make as much of an impact as expected. Mertens was taken off for Charles De Ketelaere in the 80th minute.
Michy Batshuayi: 7/10
The forgotten man at Chelsea, Batshuayi continues to impress for Belgium at the international stage. The 27-year-old was clinical with his header in the 16th minute and was a constant thorn for Poland. He was not shy to do the hard work either and kept running all night. Batshuayi lasted 67 minutes before being taken off for Lois Openda.
Jumping into holidays in style 🇧🇪 🏊🏾 pic.twitter.com/NPqrz9lkqR
— Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) June 14, 2022
Hans Vanaken: 6/10
He replaced Witsel in the 46th minute and added more steel to the Belgian midfield. The Club Brugge star did not particularly stand out but did his job in recycling possession and holding the shape in the middle of the park.
Thomas Foket: 6/10
He replaced Thorgan Hazard just after the hour mark and brought new energy to the Belgian side. Foket did not particularly have any standout moments but did enough to hold his own against a determined Polish midfield.
Lois Openda: 6.5/10
The Club Brugge man replaced Batshuayi in the 67th minute and had two chances to get his name on the scoresheet. Unfortunately for him, Wojciech Szczesny was at hand both times to deny him a goal. He was also ready to make runs as Belgium tried to catch Poland on the counterattack.
Leandro Trossard: 6.5/10
Trossard was a bundle of energy and got forward at every opportunity. He also went close to scoring himself but was unable to find a way past Szczesny in goal.
Charles De Ketelaere: 6/10
The young prodigy replaced the tiring Mertens but had little time to show off his ability. De Ketelaere was calm under pressure and held his own when needed.