Stuart Pearce’s England side lost their first game of the Euro 2012 qualifying group thanks to Omar El Kaddouri’s 90th minute winner.
After winning all four of their first games in Group 8, England were clear, and deserved favourites, for the tie in Mons at the Stade Charles Tondreau stadium and were seven points ahead of their opponents before kick-off. England started brightly and looked set to continue their 100% record in the group when Liverpool’s Martin Kelly headed home club-mate, and England captain, Jordan Henderson’s free-kick in the 14 minute.
England dominated early on, and continued to for most of the match, but failed to push on and build on their lead like they had done in their last outing where they thrashed Iceland 5-0. The away side were eventually punished for their profligacy when Jens Naessens of SV Zulte-Waregem equalised in the 72Naessens, on as a second half substitute, provided the finishing touch to El Kaddouri’s cross from the right and squeezing the ball past Jack Butland and into the far corner.
El Kaddouri, who plays his club football with Serie B side Brescia and on as another Belgian substitute, secured a vital, albeit unlikely and possibly undeserved, three points for the home side as he slammed home Ziguy Badibanga’s rebounded effort in the dying moments.Pearce was left disappointed by the result, saying; “We got our noses in front with a decent goal and should have gone on from there and made it two or three-nil,” said Pearce.
“We didn’t, we were waiting for things to happen rather than making them happen ourselves and that’s international football.”We play Belgium again in February and have to reverse the result against them,” Pearce added.England still sit top of the group and are four points clear of Belgium, in second place, with home ties against Belgium (29/02/2012) and Norway (10/09/2012) either side of an away trip to Azerbaijan (06/09/2012).