Belgium once more made a disappointing start to a qualifying campaign as they were held to a 0-0 draw by UEFA European Championship debutants Kazakhstan at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium in Brussels.
New coach René Vandereycken saw his side make a positive opening with Daniel Van Buyten firing a 16th-minute free-kick just wide, and fellow defender Vincent Kompany then stealing a march on two Kazakhstan defenders only for his shot to be well saved by David Loriya.
Claims for a Belgium penalty were waved away after 31 minutes and there was another chance for the hosts to break the deadlock before the interval as a cross from Stein Huysegems – who had replaced the injured Kompany on 37 minutes – narrowly eluded both Bart Goor and Moussa Dembele.
Kazakhstan had a good opportunity to make the breakthrough themselves as Nurbol Zhumaskaliyev scooped the ball over the crossbar from five metres, but the early stages of the second period again saw Belgium pressing forward with Loriya making another fine stop from Karel Geraerts's low header after 51 minutes.
Belgium's Stijn Stijnen was called into action to deny Dmitriy Byakov as he surged through on goal, but Loriya continued to be the busier of the keepers. His goal led a charmed life as Luigi Pieroni, Geraerts, Thomas Buffel and Daniel Van Buyten all squandered chances.
'We deserved more'
"I think we deserved more, but the ball just did not want to go in," said Vandereycken. "We were not able to break down their organisation. It was not good enough but we cannot be negative just because the result was not good. We know that when we have to play fast football against a compact opponent, we get in trouble."