On Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium beat Poland 6-1 in a Nations League game.
Belgium lost their first game to their neighbors, the Netherlands, but they came back with stronger performance and scored five goals in just over 30 minutes.
“It hurts more when you lose to your rivals, so that was a great motivator tonight,” said Roberto Martinez, the coach of Belgium.
“Against the Netherlands, we sat back, waited, and felt unsafe. Now we were a group instead of separate people.”
On Wednesday, Robert Lewandowski scored his 22nd goal for club and country in 2022 to give the away team the lead after 28 minutes. This was another early setback for Belgium.
The attacker for Bayern Munich caught Piotr Zielinski’s pass in midair and then poked it past Simon Mignolet with the outside of his left foot.
Three minutes before the break, the home team tied the score.
Kevin de Bruyne got through the Polish defense. Timothy Castagne’s shot was blocked, so he passed the ball back to Axel Witsel. Axel Witsel swerved a shot inside the post.
On the counterattack, Belgium took the lead after 59 minutes. De Bruyne was alone in the box when captain Eden Hazard found him, and he slid a shot past Bartlomiej Dragowski.
Hazard, who had trouble with injuries at Real Madrid this season and didn’t play in the Champions League final even though he was on the bench, left the field after 66 minutes.
“After my season, it makes me very happy that I could be important to the team,” he said.
Leandro Trossard took the place of Hazard, and in seven minutes, he scored twice.
Then, defender Leander Dendoncker scored his first goal for his country from a long way away.
In extra time, Lois Openda finished off the route. He came off the bench with six minutes left to play for his country for the first time.
“It was a game that will give us a lot to think about and a lot of questions about different parts of our game plan and overall strategy,” said Lewandowski. “But it also taught us how to play against teams like that.”
Belgium’s first game was against the Netherlands, and they lost. They are now second in Group 4, behind their neighbors, and ahead of Poland in terms of goal difference.
“Nobody should be worried about what will happen to football in Belgium. We have a lot of talent, but we need to wait “said Martinez. “We finally have a plan for how things will work. The rest will come, but there is no doubt about the talent.”
Belgium will play in the World Cup in Qatar in November. They will be in a group with Canada, Morocco, and Croatia, which was the runner-up in 2018. Poland faces Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina.
Poland’s coach, Czeslaw Michniewicz, said, “I told the players that they should use it as a reminder of how opponents play at the highest levels in the world.”