Belgium and France played out an entertaining draw in Brussels in what was a showcase for Premier League football talent.
There were chances aplenty on either side, the Chelsea trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku carving out plenty of chances for the home side while Karim Benzema spurned the best of the chances for France.
Vincent Kompany also starred in defence for Belgium with two excellent goal saving tackles as Samir Nasri, Olivier Giroud, Kevin Mirallas and Christian Benteke all featured in the second half.
The draw means that France halt a run of three straight defeats whilst Belgium have still only lost three of their last 29 matches.
Despite Belgium’s early intent it was France who created the first opening, Benzema firing a shot straight at Thibaut Courtois.
But it was the attacking Chelsea trio of De Bruyne, Hazard and Lukaku who were causing the French defence no end of problems and the opening goal was almost made in Chelsea, De Bruyne delivering a teasing cross into the path of Lukaku, Lloris doing just enough to smuggle behind for a corner.
De Bruyne was spoiled for choice with options either side in the form of Lukaku and Hazard as Belgium broke quickly to open up a three on two. He chose the latter and Laurent Koscielny brilliantly anticipated the move to surely deny Hazard a clear sight on goal.
Hazard then tried to catch Lloris unawares with an audacious chip before firing a better chance over the bar as France struggled to cope. Koscielny’s clearance from Nacer Chadli’s cross fell straight to De Brunye who somehow blasted wide from yards out. But France ended the half stronger, Ribery firing over before a last ditch sliding tackle from Kompany denied Benzema a chance on goal.
And Belgium again had Kompany to thank for denying Benzema what surely would have been a tap in from Franck Ribery’s cross straight across the face of goal, a sliding boot deflecting the ball away for a corner.
The second half proved just as frantic as the first as the chances continued to come and go for both sides.
Hazard again failed to force Lloris into a save straight from the re-start before Sebastien Pocognoli wastefully shot over after a brilliant back-heeled lay-off from Lukaku. With Belgium on top, France again had Lloris to thank for a one handed reaction save from Lukaku.
Courtois was equally busy at the other end, saving brilliantly to deny Benzema from Ribery’s deflected cross shortly after the striker had blazed over.
Both sides had more glorious chances to win it in the final 15 minutes, the excellent De Brunye laying the ball on a plate for substitute Kevin Mirallas to slot home. But the Everton player somehow missed the target as did Olivier Giroud, blasting over the bar in the final five minutes from Nasri’s cross.