England 2-2 Belgium: Jude Bellingham’s stoppage-time equaliser denies Belgium at Wembley

Looking to put the disappointment of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil behind them, England manager Gareth Southgate made four changes as Ezri Konsa, Lewis Dunk, Kobbie Mainoo and Jarrod Bowen were all named on the Three Lions’ opening team sheet at Wembley.

Meanwhile, Belgium made wholesale alterations following their goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland – most notably talismanic striker Romelu Lukaku making his return following a spell on the sidelines with injury.

ENG: Pickford; Konsa, Dunk, Stones, Chilwell; Rice, Mainoo; Bellingham, Foden, Bowen; Toney

BEL: Sels; Debast, Vertonghen, Theate, Castagne; Mangala, Onana, Tielemans; Trossard, Doku, Lukaku

England flew out of the blocks against the backdrop of 80,000+ in attendance at Wembley Stadium, as only a last-ditch interception from the Belgian defence denied Ivan Toney an early goal on his full debut. The Three Lions were then dealt another defensive blow in the treatment room, as Joe Gomez was summoned from the substitutes bench to replace the injury-stricken John Stones.

Like the appearance of London buses, England’s woes were compounded quickly, with Youri Tielemans firing Belgium into an 11th-minute lead – courtesy of an expertly-taken finish straight into the bottom corner – after Jordan Pickford had inexplicably mistimed his pass out from the back.

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However, it did not take England long to equalise as Toney confidently slotted the ball into the far corner beyond Matz Sels after clumsily being bundled onto the hallowed turf at Wembley by Jan Vertonghen.

Jarrod Bowen thought he had then turned the match on its head, and secured his first-ever goal at international level shortly before the half-hour mark. However, VAR rescued the visitors by advising referee Sebastian Gishamer to rule out his effort after discovering a marginal offside in the build-up.

Ultimately, another defensive debacle from Southgate’s side allowed Belgium to take a slender lead into half-time. The intimidating presence of Romelu Lukaku forced Lewis Dunk into an uncustomary mistake that allowed the on-loan AS Roma man to produce a delicious delivery into the danger zone, which was headed home at the back post by the Superman-esque flying figure of Tielemans.

England, who began the second half without names on their tops to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Society, began assertively in search of an equalising goal. First, a goal-hungry Toney forced Sels into a smart save at his near post with a fiercely-struck strike before Bowen shot straight at the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper with an equally powerful effort.

Surprisingly, Tielemans – who visibly expressed his frustration at full-time – was withdrawn by Domenico Tedesco with 18 minutes of regular time still to play. It was a move that arguably handed England the advantage to snatch a late-gasp leveller deep into stoppage-time, as Jude Bellingham confidently slotted James Maddison’s pin-point pass into the back of the net.

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Late drama at Wembley therefore denies Belgium their maiden victory on English soil, as the Three Lions will undergo only two more matches before flying to Germany for the start of the 2024 UEFA European Championships in June.