Belgium - Netherlands
4-2
 

Belgium - Netherlands 4-2 - 15/08/2012 - Match page - Friendlies 2014-16 2014

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Mertens lifts Belgium to comeback win

Published: Wednesday 15 August 2012, 23.49CET
Belgium 4-2 Netherlands
Substitute Dries Mertens inspired the hosts to three goals in five second-half minutes to complete a thrilling comeback win in Brussels.
by Berend Scholten
from Roi Baudouin Stadium
Mertens lifts Belgium to comeback win
Belgium celebrate during their triumph over the Netherlands ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 15 August 2012, 23.49CET

Mertens lifts Belgium to comeback win

Belgium 4-2 Netherlands
Substitute Dries Mertens inspired the hosts to three goals in five second-half minutes to complete a thrilling comeback win in Brussels.

A Dries Mertens-inspired second-half comeback ensured Belgium defeated the Netherlands 4-2 in the 125th Low Countries derby.

KRC Genk prospect Christian Benteke gave the hosts a half-time lead, but the Dutch seized the advantage with two goals in as many minutes from Luciano Narsingh and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar after the break. The pendulum then swung back towards Belgium in another frantic period as Mertens, Romelu Lukaku and Jan Vertonghen all struck inside five minutes to pile the misery on Louis van Gaal's Oranje.

It was the first game of Van Gaal's second spell as Oranje coach, and he reverted to 4-3-3, handed a first cap to AFC Ajax right-back Ricardo van Rhijn, and a 100th outing for Rafael van der Vaart.

Belgium ounterpart Marc Wilmots had more reason to cheer, however. Spurred on by a capacity crowd, the Red Devils took a 20th-minute lead when Benteke controlled Kevin Mirallas' blocked shot, dummied past Joris Mathijssen and fired inside the right post. At the other end, the Netherlands repeatedly found an in-form Thibaut Courtois hard to beat, but the Belgium No1 could do nothing as Narsingh (54) tucked in an excellent low cross from Arjen Robben, who then selflessly squared for Huntelaar to add another a minute later.

With four more debutants entering the fray, a weakened Netherlands struggled to cope with the Belgian pressure and relied upon the reflexes of keeper Maarten Stekelenburg. However, their opponents' introduction of Mertens on 67 minutes proved decisive. Eight minutes into his brief spell, the lively forward exploited a Nigel de Jong error to race through and equalise, before setting up Lukaku two minutes later. He then skipped past his marker and slid in Vertonghen on 80 minutes as Belgium rubbed salt into Dutch wounds and crowned an impressive win.

Last updated: 28/08/12 19.19CET

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