Under-strength Belgium held by Greece in Euro warm-up


Paris (AFP) – A Belgium side missing many of the stars that have helped them rise to the top of FIFA’s world rankings were held 1-1 by Greece in a Euro 2020 warm-up on Thursday.

For his first friendly ahead of the delayed tournament starting on June 11 coach Roberto Martinez was without injured trio Kevin De Bruyne (facial fractures), Eden Hazard (thigh), and Axel Witsel (Achilles).

The former Everton boss also chose to give the night off to Thibaut Courtois (with Simon Mignolet in goal), and Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen in defence.

Those that were in Brussels had the chance to press their case for a place in Martinez’s line-up for their June 12 opener against Russia.

Like Hazard’s younger brother Thorgan, who started and supplied the finishing touch to the move that put Belgium into a 20th minute lead after Romelu Lukaku was denied at point blank range by Greek goalkpeer Odysseas Vlachodimosv. 

Georgios Tzavellas levelled for the unscripted winners of Euro 2004 midway through the second half, tapping in Kyriakos Papadopoulos’ diving header which hit the woodwork.

Martinez will be looking for a sharper performance in the Red Devil’s second friendly against Croatia on Sunday.

Belgium romped through to the finals as group winners with a 40-goal haul.

After their Group B opener in Saint Petersburg they go on to face Denmark and Finland.

In other warm-ups involving finalists for the delayed tournament Switzerland dished out a 7-0 drubbing to Lichtenstein, with Mario Gavranovic grabbing a hat-trick.

The Swiss are in Group A with Italy, Wales and Turkey who were also in action, seeing off Moldova 2-0.

Ukraine, drawn in Group C, edged Northern Ireland 1-0.

Elsewhere the Republic of Ireland came back from a surprise goal down in Andorra to win 4-1.

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