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Live Commentary: Cyprus 0-1 Belgium - as it happened

Relive Belgium's 1-0 victory over Cyprus as Eden Hazard's goal edges Marc Wilmots's side ever closer to qualification for next summer's tournament.
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Belgium moved a step closer to securing automatic qualification for Euro 2016 by beating Cyprus 1-0 in Nicosia.

It was a difficult night for the visitors as Cyprus defended stubbornly and often looked threatening on the counter-attack, but the breakthrough finally arrived when Eden Hazard finished off a fine break in the 86th minute.

The victory leaves Belgium just a point behind Group B leaders Wales, who were prevented from celebrating qualification due to Hazard's late strike.

Find out how the action unfolded below.


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Good evening everyone. A packed week of international football continues this evening as Group B rivals Cyprus and Belgium meet in Nicosia. Belgium need a victory to boost their hopes of a top-two finish, while Cyprus are aiming to close the gap on third-placed Israel in the battle for a playoff spot.

Belgium head into this match as firm favourites and they start the night in second spot, four points behind leaders Wales. Marc Wilmots will be confident of booking a spot at Euro 2016, but a win tonight would help the more nervous fans ahead of the final round of fixtures. There is plenty of Welsh interest, too. If Belgium fail to win tonight, Wales will qualify.

CYPRUS: Georgallidis; Demetriou, Laifis, Junior Dossa Momade, Antoniades, Makridis, Nikolaou, Economides, Charalambidis, Mitidis, Makris

BELGIUM: Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Nainggolan, Witsel, Fellaini, De Bruyne, Benteke, Hazard


The big news from Nicosia this evening is that Christian Benteke has been trusted to lead the line for Belgium. His main support will arrive from Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini and Kevin de Bruyne. At times, Wilmots could opt to send Fellaini up top alongside Benteke.

After their defeat to Wales in Cardiff, Belgium were back to their best on Thursday night as they came from behind to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-1 with goals from Fellaini, De Bruyne and Hazard. On their day, Belgium are one of the toughest sides to come across, which really does tell you so much about how well Wales have played in Group B.

BENCH WATCH: Adnan Januzaj, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Kevin Mirallas are among the substitutes for the visitors this evening.

There is no doubt that Nestoras Mitidis is the key man for Cyprus this evening. The forward has netted three times in the campaign and his clever movement off the ball will be a test for the likes of Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen, who will be keen to shut him down from the first whistle.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Belgium were dominant when these two sides met in a reverse fixture, with Fellaini netting twice in an emphatic 5-0 triumph. Wilmots and his players are expected to produce a similar result tonight. Can Pambos Christodoulou's side cause a shock?

PREDICTION: It is difficult to expect anything other than a comfortable Belgium win. Cyprus will look to frustrate the visitors and are likely to operate on the break for much of the evening. It could come down to how long they can keep the match goalless. I'm going for a 4-0 Belgium win!

The players are out on the pitch for the national anthems at the GSP Stadium. Just a few handshakes and a coin toss to get out of the way now.

KICKOFF: Belgium, looking to reduce the gap to one point behind Wales, get the game underway and they immediately look comfortable in possession.

Belgium are on the front foot immediately as Vertonghen gets forward on the left before delivering a cross to Fellaini, whose poor touch at the back post allows Cyprus to recover.

The early signs are worrying for the Cypriots, who are struggling to pick up Belgium's attackers as the visitors begin to find space in the final third.

Nikolaou's cynical foul on Hazard gifts a free kick to Belgium, but De Bruyne's delivery is just a touch too strong for Fellaini at the back post.

Cyprus are making poor decisions in the early stages. Georgallidis comes off his line to control the ball under no pressure, but he sends the ball out of the play as Belgium continue to dominate possession. In fairness to the hosts, they have looked capable of causing problems on the break.

Belgium have the ball in the net, but it will not count. Cyprus are almost punished for some hesitant defending as Fellaini takes advantage of space on the edge of the box to unleash an effort which is blocked, before De Bruyne slots home from an offside position.

Half chance for Belgium. Hazard drops deeper and evades a couple of defenders with some impressive skill before picking out the run of De Bruyne. Manchester City's newest recruit delivers an inviting ball into the box, but Benteke can only volley wide.

Mitidis appears to be struggling with a hamstring problems as the medical staff come on to escort him off the pitch. He is determined to continue, but Cyprus are down to 10 men for now.

SUB! Mitidis is unable to continue and Cyprus are forced into an early change as Pieros Sotiriou comes on. Witsel then heads straight at Georgallidis from a corner.

An awful touch from Kompany almost gifts Sotiriou a free run on goal, but Vertonghen recovers to clear the danger and Cyprus fail to threaten from the corner.

Belgium are not quite clicking in attack yet. Benteke, in particular, is struggling to find his feet in the early stages. The Liverpool defender has already given the ball away at least four times.

Cyprus are starting to drop a bit deeper now, but Belgium are regularly falling at the final hurdle. A few too many aimless balls have been sent into the box and the hosts are defending well so far.

SAVE! Cyprus must be careful. A hint of an attack ends with the hosts being hit on the break as De Bruyne and Nainggolan twice exchange passes before the latter's strike is pushed away by Georgallidis.

De Bruyne is starting to come into the game a bit more. He is mainly operating on the right, but looks far more threatening in a central position as his deflected effort drifts just wide.

Cyprus have shown some promising signs going forward as the lively substitute Sotiriou twice collects the ball high up the pitch, but his cross from the right is far too strong to worry Belgium.

Wilmots will not be a happy man at the moment. Belgium may be seeing more of the ball, but they have been slow in possession and apart from the odd counter-attack, the visitors have found it difficult to get at the Cyprus defence as Benteke loses the ball on the halfway line once again.

Cyprus are dropping too deep, but the final ball from Belgium just is not good enough as Nainggolan fails to clear the first defender with a cross. De Bruyne needs to get the ball in a central position more often.

Poor from De Bruyne. Alderweireld does well to respond to a switch of play with a cushioned volley into the path of his teammate, who fires wide from a tight angle instead of looking to cross.

CHANCE! Excellent football from Cyprus. Sotiriou makes a clever run into the box before playing a back heel to Makris, who dodges one challenge before firing wide while attempting to curl into the bottom corner.

Cyprus are looking like the better side now as they struggle to clear a cross, before Economides watches Courtois collect a low shot at the second attempt.

Plenty of credit to Cyprus, who continue to make it tough for Belgium while growing in confidence going in the opposite direction. Belgium are stuck in second gear now as Alderweireld heads away a cross at the back post.

Superb defending from Laifis. De Bruyne pops up in the middle of the pitch before playing a through ball to find the run of Benteke, who is denied by a fine defending from Laifis.

It really is frustrating to watch from Belgium, who continue to get into good positions but fail to make a breakthrough as De Bruyne's poor cross is headed away at the front post. Not good enough from a side expected to be among the main contenders for next summer's tournament.

SAVE! Better from Belgium. Benteke, Nainggolan and Hazard are all involved as De Bruyne sprints clear to collect a lobbed ball before seeing Georgallidis make a fine save from a half volley.

Belgium are improving as the first half enters its closing stages. Cyprus are struggling to retain possession on the break in the way they were earlier in the match. Nainggolan is dictating the tempo from deep for the visitors.

Good work from Vermaelen to win a goal kick for his side by holding off Sotiriou, who had done well to control a long ball forward with his chest. Just one added minute to be played.

HALF TIME: CYPRUS 0-0 BELGIUM

Well, this certainly was not expected. On a night when Belgium were expected to take control from the first whistle, the visitors have looked sluggish in possession and poor up top. Cyprus have looked comfortable for long spells and do carry a threat on the break. Belgium really should win this game comfortably, but Wilmots will expect much more from his side after the break.

Chances were difficult to come by in the first half, but you can take a look back at the action with our half-time report of the Group B clash at the GSP Stadium. Belgium need more from Hazard, but Benteke must be close to coming off after a really poor first half.

After holding out for most of the match until Gareth Bale headed Wales to victory on Thursday, Cyprus appear to have stuck with a pretty similar game plan this evening. They will have to take any clear chance they get in the second half to stand any chance of winning, but they are unlikely to change much at the back. An early breakthrough in the second half for Belgium will be vital.


SUB: Belgium have decided to make a change at the break and it is no surprise to see Benteke come off. Divock Origi is his replacement. Cyprus will get the game back underway.

This is exactly what Wilmots want to see. Hazard collects the ball in a deep position before taking on a couple of defenders out wide and hitting a low effort straight at Georgallidis.

YELLOW CARD! Antoniades is the first player to pick up a booking for a late challenge on De Bruyne, who steps up to take the 30-yard free kick and forces Georgallidis with an effort that bounces just in front of the goalkeeper.

Belgium are asking all of the questions early in the second half as Alderweireld sends a speculative volley wide of the target.

Nainggolan is slightly fortunate to avoid a booking when he chops down Makridis from behind, but Belgium clear the danger from the free kick. Makris sends an effort wide from 25 yards a few moments later.

SUB! Skipper Charalambidis is the second player to be removed for the hosts as Vincent Laban takes his place in midfield.

Cyprus breathe a sigh of relief when Makris foolishly leaves a cross from Vertonghen, whose ball just evades Fellaini before De Bruyne's cushioned volley back into the danger zone is collected by Georgallidis.

Cyprus win a free kick in a good position, and Economides delivering a decent cross, Vertonghen manages to head behind easily. The hosts keep the pressure on for an extended spell but Belgium hold them off. Origi is lucky to get a touch on the ball with a risky sliding tackle on Mitidis in the box.

SAVE! Cyprus leave too many people forward as Courtois collects the cross from the corner, before sending Nainggolan out wide with a long throw. De Bruyne and Hazard both make good runs, but the Roma midfielder ignores his options to curl wide from the edge of the box.

YELLOW CARD! Excellent work from Nainggolan to get back and win the ball on the edge of his own box. He threatens to launch another counter, but Walsall defender Demetriou steps in to pick up a booking with a trip from behind.

Well, I don't want to be too harsh but Vertonghen has probably just produced the runaway contender for worst free kick of the season. De Bruyne threatened from the same position earlier, but the Spurs defender wins the right to take the latest set piece and proceeds to fire the ball into row z.

SUB! Belgium make another change as the ineffective Fellaini makes way for Mertens.

It is turning into a performance to forget from Belgium as another extended spell of pressure ends with a mistake when Witsel gifts the ball back to the hosts.

Opportunity wasted by Cyprus as they fail to capitalise on a 3-on-3 situation when Vertonghen interceptes a weak pass from Sotiriou.

CHANCE! Vermaelen makes a good run to the front post to meet a corner with a glancing header but the ball drifts just wide of the target.

Cyprus continue to knock the ball around nicely as Makris drops off to find space before drilling the ball to Sotiriou, whose touch back results in Laban firing over from 30 yards. Economides does the same with an effort a few moments later.

CHANCE! Courtois is calm enough to find Witsel in midfield, but a mistake gifts the ball back to Laban, who should look for a pass rather than curl over from the edge of the box.

YELLOW CARD! Economides is the latest player to pick up a booking for bringing down De Bruyne in midfield.

At the moment, it is Cyprus who look more likely to break the deadlock as Laban continues to find space between the Belgian midfield and defence. It doesn't look like they have much of a cutting edge, but the hosts are very comfortable at the moment as Belgium continue to waste possession further up the pitch.

Poor from Kompany as he fails to win a high ball after coming out of defence. Belgium refuse to shut down Sotiriou, who finds Laban, but his effort is no threat to Courtois.

Another Belgium move breaks down. Hazard has been trying to get on the ball as much as possible, but he twice loses possession on the edge of the box. Cyprus are furious moments for later and you can understand why. Makrides is clearly fouled by Vermaelen, but the whistle does not arrive and the midfielder tacks back to bring down De Bruyne 25 yards from goal.

Mertens takes the free kick this time. A weak curling effort really should not cause problems, but Georgallidis still decides to punch the ball away. Cyprus clear when De Bruyne sends the ball back into the box.

SUB! Nicolaou's night is over as APOEL midfielder Kostakis Artymatas comes on for the closing stages.

GOAL! CYPRUS 0-1 BELGIUM (HAZARD)

The champagne remains on ice in Wales, for now! Belgium finally produce some quality in the final third to produce what should be the winning goal. De Bruyne does well on the break to find Mertens out wide, and the substitute keeps his composure with the perfect pull back to allow Hazard to convert emphatically from 12 yards.

Cyprus are pushing to find a way back but Belgium look comfortable now as they knock the ball around without much pressure to worry them. It has been a poor display, but the likes of Hazard can always change the game out of nowhere.

Witsel picks out De Bruyne, who loses a couple of defenders on the edge of the box before sending his low effort just wide of the bottom corner as Belgium finish strongly.

The match has entered the first of four added minutes. Belgium have a corner but the pace has slowed since the deadlock was broken.

YELLOW CARD! Kompany only has eyes for the ball, but the referee somehow decides that the centre-back deserves a yellow card for making contact with Laban in the air.

Cyprus are still asking questions, but they just don't have enough creativity in the final third of the pitch as Belgium handle everything with apparent ease in stoppage time.

FULL TIME: CYPRUS 0-1 BELGIUM

Georgallidis is sent forward for a corner in the final minute, but Belgium clear once again to secure all three points. They move a step closer to securing automatic qualification and the win prevents Wales from celebrating a spot in the tournament tonight. Both remain on course to qualify as the two.

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Belgium's Marouane Fellaini celebrates after scoring during the Euro 2016 qualifying match between Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, on September 3, 2015
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