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Bellingham scores late equalizer as England draws with Belgium

LONDON: Jude Bellingham scored a late equalizer to secure a 2-2 draw for England against Belgium at Wembley on Tuesday, with Youri Tielemans netting twice for Belgium in the final match before Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 selection.

Injury-hit England, considered among the favorites to win the Euros in Germany, showed attacking prowess but were punished by Tielemans, who capitalized on defensive errors. The Aston Villa midfielder opened the scoring early on after a mistake from England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, and then headed in a second goal before halftime after Ivan Toney had equalized from the penalty spot.

Despite England’s relentless attacks, Belgium appeared poised for victory in front of over 80,000 fans before Real Madrid midfielder Bellingham struck in stoppage time.

The draw is a morale boost for England following their 1-0 defeat to Brazil at Wembley on Saturday, their first loss since the 2022 World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.

“Jude is the headline, showing that competitive spirit, the desire not to lose, and the desire to win in the end,” said England boss Southgate. “But I thought the whole team displayed that throughout the game and bounced back from setbacks with a relatively inexperienced team.”

Southgate faced numerous absences during the March international window, with defender John Stones forced off early and replaced by Joe Gomez.

When asked about player availability for the Euros in June, Southgate expressed uncertainty. “We’ve got so many players missing at the moment, and we’ve still got the real heat of the season to come… we’re not going to know what we’re left with until right at the end.”

Belgium took the lead in the 11th minute in an unusual manner, with Tielemans capitalizing on Pickford’s mistake. England equalized through Toney’s penalty, but Tielemans restored Belgium’s lead before halftime.

The game remained open in the second half, with England having more possession but Belgium posing a threat on the counter. Bellingham missed a chance to equalize before eventually scoring in the 95th minute.

Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco acknowledged England’s strength, expressing disappointment at missing out on a win but accepting the result as fair.

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