World Cup - Classy Belgium beat Scotland to close on Brazil

World Cup qualifier Group A, Hampden Park – Scotland 0 Belgium 2 (Defour 38, Mirallas 88)

Belgium took a big step towards their first qualification for a major tournament since 2002 with a 2-0 win over Scotland.

Goals from Steven Defour in the first-half and one from substitute Kevin Mirallas late on were enough to seal the points for Mark Wilmots’ men, who were the better team throughout on a rainy night in Glasgow.

The result puts them five points clear of Croatia, who could only draw 1-1 with Serbia in Belgrade. The unbeaten Belgians now only require a point when they visit Croatia in October to confirm their place in Brazil.

Scotland are bottom of the group, having gained just five points from their eight games thus far.

Belgium started brightly with some fine wing-play from both Nacer Chadli and man-of-the-match Kevin De Bruyne, who switched flanks to target Alan Hutton from the off.

After dominating much of the first half, the Belgians took the lead in the 38th minute through Steven Defour. Fellaini fed De Bruyne on the right, who crossed low to Defour and the midfielder swept an excellent first-time finish into the bottom-corner from about 16 yards out.

Scotland held their own for much of the encounter, but in the end were simply not good enough to stop one of the most exciting teams in Europe. Goalkeeper David Marshall made several excellent saves, notably a couple in the second half from De Bruyne, to keep Scotland in the game.

However, Belgium sealed the win through substitute Kevin Mirallas, who latched onto a fine through-ball by Christian Benteke and took advantage of some rash defending by Grant Hanley to sweep past an otherwise excellent David Marshall in the Scotland goal.

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: Gordon Strachan elects to start with Wolves forward Leigh Griffiths up front on his own, leaving Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes on the bench.

38 - GOAL! DEFOUR GIVES BELGIUM THE LEAD. Fellaini feeds De Bruyne on the right, he crosses low to Defour who sweeps in first-time from about 16 yards out.

74' - INJURY: Oooh, nasty - Lombaerts goes up for a header with Rhodes but lands badly on his ankle.

88' GOAL! MIRALLAS SEALS IT FOR BELGIUM! Benteke turns on the ball around 40-yards out, and he plays a terrific ball through for the Everton man. Hanley commits himself far too early and Mirallas is free to sweep a fine finish past Marshall.

TALKING POINT: How far can Belgium go? This 'golden generation' of Belgian talent is on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil- the first time they will have made a major tournament finals since the 2002 World Cup, so the question is what can they achieve? Next summer's tournament could be too soon for such a young side, but when one considers that on Friday they had a couple of key first-team players out with injury and could still leave both Mousa Dembele and Romelu Lukaku on the bench, it gives an indication of their strength in depth.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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