Belgium came from behind to thrash Poland 6-1 in their Nations League encounter on Wednesday

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Belgium thrashed Poland 6-1 in their Nations League match on Wednesday in Brussels.

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Belgium lost their first game to their neighbors the Netherlands, but came back with a strong performance, scoring five goals in just over 30 minutes.

“It brings extra emotion when you lose against your rivals so that was definitely a motivator tonight,” said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. 

“Against The Netherlands we were passive, waiting, insecure. Now we were a team instead of individuals.”

On Wednesday, Belgium experienced another early setback when the visitors took the lead after 28 minutes, thanks to star striker Robert Lewandowski’s 22nd goal for club and country in 2022.

With the outside of his left boot, the Bayern Munich forward controlled a pass from Piotr Zielinski in mid-air and pushed it past the onrushing Simon Mignolet.

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Three minutes before halftime, the hosts equalized.

Kevin de Bruyne was able to get past the Polish defense. Timothy Castagne rolled the ball back to Axel Witsel, who swerved a shot inside the post after his drive was parried.

On the counter-attack, Belgium took the lead after 59 minutes. De Bruyne was found open in the box by captain Eden Hazard, who slipped a shot past Bartlomiej Dragowski.

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Hazard, who has been plagued by injury at Real Madrid this season and was an unused replacement in the Champions League final, was forced to leave after 66 minutes.

“I am extremely happy that I could be important to the team, especially after my season,” he said. 

Hazard was replaced by Leandro Trossard, who scored twice in seven minutes.

Leander Dendoncker, a defender, then scored his first international goal from a considerable distance.

In additional time, Lois Openda, who came off the bench to make his international debut with six minutes remaining, completed the carnage.

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“It was a match that will give us a lot to think about, a lot of question marks in various parts of our game plan and overall strategy, but also a lesson on how to play against such teams,” said Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.

Belgium, who were defeated by the Netherlands in their Group 4 opener, are second behind their neighbors and ahead of Poland on goal difference.

“Nobody should be worried about the future of Belgian football. We have immense talent but we have to be patient,” said Martinez. “We finally have the structure in place. The rest will follow, but the talent is definitely there.”

Belgium has been drawn in a group containing Canada, Morocco, and the 2018 losing finalists Croatia for the World Cup in Qatar in November. Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina are Poland’s opponents.

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“I told the players that they should use it as a reminder of how opponents play at the very highest levels in the world,” said Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz. 

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