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Two Henri Lansbury goals set England on their way to a welcome UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying win against Belgium in Middlesbrough.
After Belgium won 2-1 in the reverse fixture last November, a repeat result would have moved them just a point behind their opponents at the top of Group 8, yet they were trailing within nine minutes to Lansbury's speculative effort from distance. Steven Caulker's 36th-minute header doubled the lead, and Lansbury made sure of the points soon after the break. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a fourth from the penalty spot in added time.
With regular England U21 coach Stuart Pearce taking charge of the senior side, Brian Eastick took the reins but the transition was smooth, helped by Lansbury's early contribution. The midfielder launched the ball goalwards from the left touchline, and Koen Casteels could only watch as it sailed over his head into the top corner.
The goalkeeper was beaten again just past the half-hour. Once more Lansbury was involved, Craig Dawson heading his right-wing corner back for Caulker to nod in from close range. Belgium, also under temporary management with Jean-François Remy in charge, might have pulled one back only for Christian Benteke to head Ziguy Badibanga's cross past the post. Any lingering hopes of a comeback were killed off eight minutes after half-time, Lansbury turning in debutant Wilfried Zaha's low cutback.
Although Nill De Pauw and Jens Naessens were denied by Jack Butland and Lamisha Musonda had an effort cleared off the line, Oxlade-Chamberlain made it four having being brought down by Dedryck Boyata. England next play Azerbaijan on 6 September while Belgium take on third-placed Norway in June.
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