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De Bruyne brilliant as Belgium beat Serbia

Paul Gilham

Belgium beat Serbia 2-1 in a match which saw five Chelsea players -- plus a couple of potential transfer targets -- in action. Unsurprisingly, the Blues impressed.

Kevin de Bruyne was the game's standout player. He scored in the 13th minute with a stooping back-post header from Jan Vertonghen's cross, but the goal was the least of his contributions. His movement was great and his passing was assured and intelligent. Even his set-piece delivery was excellent; the 21-year-old registered an assist on Belgian's second goal with a wonderfully-taken corner that landed on the head of Marouane Fellaini. Jose Mourinho was apparently in the crowd for this match -- that can only be good news for de Bruyne's chances of sticking at Stamford Bridge for next season.

Romelu Lukaku came on for de Bruyne in the 82nd minute. He didn't have time to make much of an impact, but he should have done better, especially when his first touch wasted a pass from Christian Benteke in a one on one situation. Despite a great season with West Bromwich Albion, there are clearly areas of his game he needs to work on.

Eden Hazard came on in the 64th minute for Kevin Mirallas, and he showed no signs whatsoever of being held back by the hamstring injury he picked up against Aston Villa. His first touch involved him making an idiot out of about three Serbian players at once to start a move that would have resulted in a goal if not for some woeful finishing by Benteke.

Thibaut Courtois played the full 90 minutes. While he struggled with distribution whenever Serbia's attackers pressed him, there wasn't much else to complain about. By which I mean he was awesome. Particularly impressive was a save against Lazar Markovic, who must have thought he'd scored with a free header only for Courtois to throw a hand downward and bat the ball away. Aleksandar Kolarov did manage to beat him with an excellent free kick as the game wound down, but no goalkeeper in the world would have kept that one out, so oh well.

Branislav Ivanovic had perhaps Serbia's best chance when he met a corner with a sidefoot volley, but although his shot beat the 21-year-old goalkeeper it also fizzed wide of the post. Defensively, he was up against Kevin Mirallas and did reasonably well there, but he was to 'blame' for Belgium's second goal. Hard to get too angry about a guy not being able to deal with Fellaini in the air, though.

I was keeping an eye on Markovic as well, and he had a good game. Toby Alderweireld is an excellent defender, and Markovic got the better of him on several occasions. He also drifted in from the left a lot, causing chaos in the Belgium centre when he got to make runs -- all in all a pretty good performance for the supposed Chelsea transfer target. Fellaini and Witsel did about as you'd expect, if you're interested in either when it comes to shoring up your midfield.

Elsewhere, Petr Cech started for the Czech Republic against Italy, who were terrible. Cech had basically nothing to do when Italy were at eleven men, and after they went down to ten when Mario Balotelli did some Mario Balotelli things the visitors dropped all pretense of attacking. The final shot tally for the Azzurri? Five attempts, zero on target. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

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