Unbeaten Belgium scored late to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-3 on Saturday, hurting the Balkan team’s hopes of a group runner-up finish and staying in contention for World Cup qualification.
Already qualified from Europe Group H, Belgium fielded a strong squad and twice came from behind. Seeking its second ever World Cup qualification, Bosnia slipped to third place behind Greece, which had to work hard to win in Cyprus 2-1.
Belgium scored quickly through Thomas Meunier in the fourth minute, but trailed at the break, conceding to Haris Medunjanin and Edin Visca. Michy Batshuayi and Jan Vertonghen brought Belgium back.
But Bosnia leveled thanks to Dario Dumic in the 82nd, only to have their hearts crushed by Belgium’s Yannick Carrasco two minutes later. With home players caught too far forward, Carrasco calmly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
“We knew they would fight hard to keep second place. It gave them extra energy,” Carrasco said. “But we wanted to win, too. We missed too many chances in the first half, but got it right in the second.”
Belgian players said they had difficulty playing on the pitch at Grbavica Stadium, where stewards shoveled sand onto the field before kickoff.
GREECE IN TUNE AT END
In Nicosia, Greece struggled to win, pushing its players recklessly forward. They were punished in the 18th minute by Pieros Sotiriou, whose counterattack went almost unchallenged.
Before the Cypriots had much chance to celebrate, Kostas Mitroglou and Alexandros Tziolis responded with two goals in two minutes.
Greece hung on in the good-natured game, at which fans from Greece were joined by local Greek Cypriots in singing the Greek national anthem several times over the 90 minutes.