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  • August 15, 2012
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Stade Roi Baudouin, Bruxelles (Brussel)
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 50000

Belgium 4-2 Netherlands: Mertens inspires impressive win for hosts

Belgium 4-2 Netherlands: Mertens inspires impressive win for hosts


The guests appeared to be on their way to victory after an impressive start to the second half, but the PSV winger then helped the Rode Duivels to the win with a sensational outing

Belgium earned a 4-2 home win over the Netherlands in Wednesday's international friendly in Brussels, spoiling Louis van Gaal's debut as Oranje manager.

Christian Benteke gifted the hosts the lead before the break, but two goals within as many minutes from Luciano Narsingh and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar helped the Dutch to a 2-1 lead. However, goals from Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku got the home crowd back on their feet. Jan Vertonghen then poured even more salt in Holland's wounds in the 80th minute.

Fans had to wait until the 20th minute for the first big chance of the game, and it immediately resulted in the opener. The Dutch defense allowed Kevin Mirallas too much space down the left wing, and the attacker cut inside before unleashing a low shot that bounced off John Heitinga. Benteke calmly controlled the loose ball, and evaded Joris Mathijsen's challenge before firing home.

Holland then took over the initiative and came close to levelling the scoring after 28 minutes of play. Luciano Narsingh set up Ricardo van Rhijn with a fine low cross, but Thibaut Courtois showed his class with a superb save to prevent the equalizer.

There was little Courtois could do about the equalizer shortly after the interval, though. Bruno Martins Indi found Robben with a superb pass down the left, with the latter then sending in a low cross for Narsingh, who tapped home from close range.

Belgium did not have much time to recover from conceding as the guests were celebrating once more in the 55th minute, and Martins Indi and Robben were again at the heart of it. The Feyenoord defender set up the Bayern star with an intelligent through pass, who then unselfishly squared it off to Huntelaar. The Schalke star had no trouble finding the empty net from close range, thus scoring his 32nd goal for Oranje.

The home side immediately tried to restore parity, and both Steven Defour and Nacer Chadli tested Maarten Stekelenburg with powerful shots from the edge of the box. The Roma shot stopper was alert to the danger, though, and prevented the 2-2. Kevin De Bruyne, too, came close to restoring parity with a good header, but the Oranje glovesman once more came out on top.

The Dutch eventually conceded after all, though, when Nigel de Jong lost possession inside his own half. Substitute Mertens picked up the loose ball, and beat Stekelenburg with a low shot at the near post.

Things would only get worse for Oranje from there on as it was unable to cope with the energetic Mertens. Only two minutes after the 2-2, the PSV man once more escaped the attention of Van Rhijn and set up Lukaku for Belgium's third goal.

A superb Kevin De Bruyne pass toward Mertens then lead to the hosts' third goal within the space of five minutes. The former Utrecht star controlled the ball, danced past his marker, and then squared the ball off for Vertonghen, who blasted home from inside the area.

Belgium resumes match action when it takes on Wales on Sept. 7 in the qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup. Netherlands' next game is the 2014 World Cup qualifier at home against Turkey on Sept. 7.

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