FootballNEWSWorld Cup qualifiers

Belgium secures qualification for Qatar 2022 World Cup

Belgium defeated Estonia 3-1 in their Group E encounter to book their place at the finals of next summer’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, making it their third consecutive World Cup participation.

With Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshiayi both missing out due to injury issues, Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke was chosen to lead the line for Belgium. The veteran striker scored a rare goal to open the scoring in the 11th minute.

The 30-year-old striker was at the right place to poke home a loose ball after the goalkeeper allowed a cross from Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco to squirm under him. It was a 17th international goal for Benteke in Belgium colours.

Kevin De Bruyne was denied by a combination of the goalkeeper and woodwork, and Benteke headed an effort against the woodwork from point-blank range. Eden Hazard fluffed his lines when clean through on goal before the end of the first half.

Belgium doubled their advantage in the second half through Atletico Madrid forward Carrasco’s stunned in the 53rd minute. The winger moved towards the Estonia box and saw the defenders backing off before he decided to shoot brilliantly and found the top corner with a fierce strike.

Estonia scored an unlikely goal after 70 minutes through Erik Sorga to halve the deficit. Rauno Sappinen fired an effort towards goal which Thibaut Courtois could only parry into the path of Sorga, who tapped the ball into an empty net.

Belgium restored their two-goal cushion only four minutes later through Borussia Dortmund winger Thorgan Hazard, who headed home from close range after a pinpoint cross from De Bruyne.

Belgium have now qualified for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, and will expect the World Cup to be the last chance for their golden generation to get their hands on a trophy. They become the fourth European side after Denmark, Germany and France to qualify for the mundial.

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