Last gasp Bellingham strike rescues England

Brian Jeeves

England v Belgium – International Friendly Match – Wembley Stadium – Report

England 2-2 Belgium

A goal from Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham rescued England as the spoils were shared with Belgium on an otherwise filthy night at Wembley Stadium.

A clutch of withdrawals as well as those already missing left Gareth Southgate short of Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Bukayo Saka, Luke Shaw and Trent Alexander-Alexander Arnold. Declan Rice was handed the captaincy on his fiftieth England appearance.

The England boss confirmed that Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo and Brentford frontman Ivan Toney would get an opportunity, the latter returning to the fray after serving an eight-month suspension for breaching FA betting rules.

“We’re probably finding out about more players but that’s really helpful,” Southgate explained.

“To see all those players against high-level opposition will help us make better decisions moving forward.”

Southgate’s injury crisis deepened when John Stones limped out of the action in only the tenth minute. Worse was to follow as Belgium forged ahead through Tielemans following a woeful clearance from England keeper, Jordan Pickford.

But Belgium’s lead lasted barely six minutes. Jan Vertongen felled Toney. The Brentford man dusted himself down before comfortably dispatching the resulting spot-kick. 

England’s Ivan Toney scores his side’s first goal from the penalty spot (Photo by Rob Newell CameraSport)

Pickford made up for his earlier error by pushing aside Jeremy Doku’s low attempt. Midway through the half, England thought they’d forged ahead. Jarrod Bowen was on hand to nod home after Lewis Dunk headed Phil Foden’s flag-kick back across goal. However, VAR intervened. The call was off-side. The goal was chalked off. Meanwhile, Bellingham fired a glorious opportunity high over the top after the Belgian backline was caught dawdling.

Jarrod Bowen’s celebrations were cut short following a VAR off-side call (Photo by Rob Newell -CameraSport )

Nine minutes before the break, Belgium restored their earlier lead. Romelu Lokaku got the better of Dunk before picking out Tielemans to head his second of the evening.

Toney blasted into the side netting, while Bellingham’s difficult evening continued when he headed wide from close range after arriving unmarked to meet Joe Gomez’s centre. 

As the rain continued to fall, Bowen and Toney went close following free-flowing England raids. Meanwhile, Foden sent an angled effort agonisingly wide after Bowen had fashioned an opening.

Ollie Watkins and Anthony Gordon toiled fruitlessly during England’s defeat at the hands of Brazil four days previous. The attacking duo faired no better after replacing Toney and Bowen as late substitutes.

But deep into stoppage time, Bellingham’s night came good as he fired home through a clutch of players from eight yards. 

England: Pickford, Konsa, Dunk, Stones (Gomez 10′), Chilwell, Bellingham, Rice, Bowen (Gordon 80′), Foden, Mainoo (Maddison 74′), Toney (Watkins 80′)

Subs not used: Gallagher, Ramsdale, Henderson, Branthwaite, Lewis, Rashford, Trafford, Palmer

Booked: Gomez (foul)

Goals: Toney (penalty) 17′, Bellingham 90+5′

Belgium: Sels, Castagne, Debast (Faes 83′), Vertonghen, Theate (Vranckx 71′), Tielemans (Meunier 71′), Onana, Mangala (Openda 83′), Doku, Lukaku (Batshuayi 83′), Trossard (Lukebakio 60′)

Subs not used: , Kaminski, Deman, Bakayoko, Vermeeren, De Winter, Bodart

Booked: None

Goals: Tielemans 11′, 36′

Referee: Sebastian Gishamer (Aut)

Assistants: Roland Brandner and Santino Schreiner (both Aut)

Fourth Official: Harald Lechner (Aut)

Video Assistant Referee: Manuel Schuettengruber (Aut)

Assistant Video Assistant Referee:  Walter Altmann (Aut)

Attendance: 80,733

Brian Jeeves