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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Koning Boudewijn Stadion (ATT 45,844) 7th June 2013 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: S Lannoy

Belgium Belgium vs Serbia Serbia

Belgium 2

K De Bruyne (13)
M Fellaini (60)

ft

Serbia 1

A Kolarov (87)

Belgium take charge of group

Last Updated: 07/06/13 10:23pm

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Kevin De Bruyne fired Belgium into the lead

Kevin De Bruyne fired Belgium into the lead

Belgium took a major step towards the World Cup finals on a night when they got it right and Group A rivals Croatia took a potentially decisive stumble.

Headed goals from midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Marouane Fellaini gave the Belgians a fine home victory over Serbia, dangerous opponents who were professionally put away.

There were roars at the King Baudouin stadium for both goals, but also when news came through of the strike against Croatia that earned Scotland a surprise win in Zagreb.

The slight concern in that regard may be that Belgium go to Scotland next, in September.

But Belgium could on Friday look down on the rest of the group, armed with a three-point lead over Croatia, the only side that can catch them in the hunt for the automatic place in next summer's finals.

Coach Marc Wilmots was captain of his country the last time Belgium reached a major tournament, the 2002 World Cup. He netted three times but could not help the team go beyond the last 16, where they bowed out to eventual winners Brazil.

Another taste of Brazil, hosts of next year's finals, is what the new generation of players are pursuing. And despite Serbia's Aleksandar Kolarov firing in a late free-kick to add some late tension, the home side held on in Brussels.

After Kevin Mirallas and Kolarov traded early 20-yard strikes that did no damage, Belgium made a 13th-minute breakthrough when Jan Vertonghen crossed and De Bruyne headed in.

The 22-year-old is a Chelsea player, but has yet to be seen in action for the Blues, having had loans with Genk and Werder Bremen since committing to the London club in January 2012. His turn could be just around the corner, under new manager Jose Mourinho.

Serbia sought a leveller and Branislav Ivanovic, scorer of Chelsea's winner in the Europa League final last month, volleyed off target before Lazar Markovic saw a close-range shot blocked by Toby Alderweireld.

Belgium's young goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois - another Chelsea player yet to play for the Blues, spending two years at Atletico Madrid - saved his side early in the second half by tipping wide a 20-yard shot from Dusan Basta.

De Bruyne would play a key role in the second goal, this time as the provider as his corner from the left found Fellaini whose prowess in the air saw him win the battle for the ball, with the result being him finding the bottom right corner.

It came seconds before the hour was up, and put Belgium in control.

Belgium have the strength in depth these days that they could replace Mirallas with Eden Hazard, an active Chelsea player, in the 64th minute.

Chances came and were spurned at both ends before Serbia struck late.

Axel Witsel fouled Basta on the edge of the Belgium penalty area and Kolarov, a specialist from such positions, found the bottom left corner.

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Matches

  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Fri 7th Jun - Group B
    Fri 7th Jun - Group F
    • Azerbaijan
      1 - 1
      Luxembourg
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    • Portugal
      1 - 0
      Russia
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    Fri 7th Jun - Group I
    Fri 7th Jun - Group G
    • Latvia
      0 - 5
      Bos & Herz
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    • Liechtenstein
      1 - 1
      Slovakia
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    • Lithuania
      0 - 1
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    Fri 7th Jun - Group A
    Fri 7th Jun - Group H
    Fri 7th Jun - Group E
    Fri 7th Jun - Group C
    • Rep Ireland
      3 - 0
      Faroe Islands
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    • Austria
      2 - 1
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Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4