Belgium rout Scotland 4-0 in Euro qualifier
Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld (No. 2) scores a goal against Scotland during a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday, Sept. 9. EFE/EPA/ROBERT PERRY
Belgium's Thomas Vermaelen (No. 3) celebrates scoring a goal against Scotland during a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday, Sept. 9. EFE/EPA/ROBERT PERRY
Belgium's Kevin de Bruyne advances the ball against Scotland during a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday, Sept. 9. EFE/EPA/ROBERT PERRY
Glasgow, Scotland, Sep 9 (efe-epa).- Kevin de Bruyne had a goal and three assists here Monday to lead Belgium 4-0 over Scotland in a Euro 2020 qualifying match.
The Belgians' sixth win in six outings leaves them atop Group I with 18 points, 3 points ahead of Russia, while the Scots are fifth with 6 points.
Scotland coach Steve Clarke, in his fourth match since taking charge, left Ryan Fraser, Oliver McBurnie and John McGinn out of the starting 11 for the contest at Glasgow's Hampden Park, shuffling the deck after last Friday's loss to Russia.
But the changes appeared to make little difference and the hosts fell behind in the 9th minute after a Scottish free kick ended up at the feet of Dries Mertens, who launched a magnificent deep ball to De Bruyne.
The Manchester City star advanced while waiting for Romelu Lukaku to get into position and then passed to the Inter Milan striker for the goal.
Thomas Vermaelen doubled the Belgians' advantage in the 23rd minute, nudging a De Bruyne cross into the Scotland net.
Nine minutes later, Toby Alderweireld got his head to De Bruyne's corner kick. The ball struck the cross-bar before falling inside the net to make it 3-0 for Belgium.
Scotland had some encouraging moments in the second half, though they never troubled Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The visitors, meanwhile, remained dangerous on the counter and De Bruyne added a fourth goal for his side in the 82nd minute.
Belgium, who finished third at the 2018 World Cup, look almost assured of securing a berth in the 2020 European Championships. But the Scots' only hope will be to make it into a playoff by amassing enough points from the four remaining qualifiers to gain ground on Cyprus and Kazakhstan, each with 7 points.
Scotland: Marshall; Robertson, Cooper, Mulgrew, O'Donnell; McTominay, McGregor (Armstrong, m.68), McLean; Snodgrass, Phillips (Russell, m.77), Christie (McGinn, m.86).
Belgium: Courtois; Meunier (Raman, m.90), Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Chadli (Carrasco, m.77); Tielemans (Verschaeren, m.86), Dendoncker; Mertens, Lukaku, De Bruyne. EFE