The highly-fancied Belgian team, also dubbed the Red Devils, had beaten Macedonia in Skopje 0-2 on Friday and were the big favourites to win the return match before their home crowd. The match in the Brussels Boudewijn Stadium was a sell-out of 48,000, and the crowd included the Belgian Crown Prince Filip who had brought his little son Gabriel (photo below).
However, Macedonia showed tough resistance and the Red Devils, despite dominating, made too many little mistakes. There were no big chances in a somewhat disappointing first half, but the Belgians piled up the pressure after the break (small photo: central defender Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal in action).
Chelsea's Eden Hazard first hit the bar with a thundering shot, but scored a crucial goal on 62 minutes. He first feigned a shot before cutting past two defenders and beat goalkeeper Tome Pacovski from close range, 1-0, the final score.
Belgium had won corner after corner, but slowed down after the goal and Macedonia even had a couple of chances in the final 10 minutes. The Red Devils have picked up 16 points from 6 matches, after 5 wins and 1 draw and a goal difference of 11-1. This means Belgium only had to swallow one goal until now. Croatia squeezed past Wales 1-2 and are equal on points, but are second on goal difference.
Yesterday also marked the return of Captain Vincent Kompany of Manchester City, after a long injury spell of two months.