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Euro 2016 qualifying: Hazard scores late winner for subpar Belgium

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As in June of 2014, so in September of 2015.

Yet another disappointing performance on Sunday from Eden Hazard and Co.  In a way, they're like England, before everybody lowered their expectations to more realistic levels.  Except Belgium's talent level is well above England's.  Which is why they remain disappointing.  Is it tactics?  Marc Wilmots certainly does not enjoy universal approval.  Do the players just not care?  Are they just hampered by the international format, which means they almost never play or train together?  Are they all just a bit out of form?  Certainly, Eden Hazard could qualify under the latter.

"He (Hazard) was the worst tonight. I thought about substituting him, but in the last 10 minutes he always has the ability to do that. At the World Cup, this was the case."

"I obviously expect more from him, but he will grow as the season progresses."

-Marc Wilmots; source: Evening Standard

Still, our Player of the Year is capable of changing a game single-handedly.  As is Kevin De Bruyne and many others in the national setup.  And so it was, that in the 85th minute of an otherwise lackluster affair against lowly Cyprus, De Bruyne and Dries Mertens combined to create an easy chance for Eden to score the only goal of the game.

With the win (and the clean sheet for Courtois), Belgium, alongside Wales, have guaranteed a spot from Group B in at least the play-offs for Euro 2016 with two matches still left to play.

The situation is similar in most qualifying groups, though, surprisingly, not in Group A, where the Netherlands' nightmare qualifying continued with a 3-0 loss to Turkey, who turned back the clock to 2008, to Faith Terim's first spell in charge.  The Dutch campaign began with (Mother) Guus Hiddink in charge; he left over the summer to be replaced by the legendary Danny Blind.  He's now lost both of his games in charge.  Beneficiaries of their troubles include Iceland and Czech Republic, both of whom have secured qualification. Tomas Kalas was once again an unused substitute as the Czechs won 2-1 in Latvia.

Elsewhere, Asmir Begovic kept a clean sheet (against Andorra and their one shot on target, for what it's worth) as Bosnia and Herzegovina kept hope alive of reaching next summer's tournament with a 3-0 win.  And, a bit further south, Mohamed Salah scored and set up another as Egypt thumped Chad, ranked 171st, 5-1.