Bellingham scores late for England in Belgium draw

Bukayo Saka of England celebrates with Jude Bellingham after scoring the team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying round group C match between England and Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on March 26, 2023 in London, England. 

Jude Bellingham's 22nd goal of a standout season has salvaged a 2-2 draw for England against Belgium and continued his outstanding form going into this year's European Championship.

The Real Madrid midfielder underlined his importance to Gareth Southgate's team ahead of the Euros with a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time at Wembley to ensure England avoided back-to-back defeats, following Saturday's 1-0 loss to Brazil.

Two first-half goals from Youri Tielemans, either side of an Ivan Toney penalty, put Belgium on the verge of their first away win against England.

But as the game went deep into stoppage time, Bellingham controlled a pass from substitute James Maddison in a crowded box and coolly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Matz Sels.

"We did leave it late and kept everyone on their toes. It shows the resilience in the squad," England striker Jarrod Bowen said.

Bellingham is quickly becoming a talisman for club and country.

He joined Madrid from Borussia Dortmund last June in a deal that could rise to more than $A213 million and has gone on to establish himself as one of Europe's best players.

As the top scorer in the Spanish league with 16 goals, he is pivotal to Madrid's hopes of winning the title and Champions League this year.

He is also the driving force at the heart of England's midfield in a year when Southgate hopes to end the nation's wait for a first trophy since the World Cup in 1966.

"We should be winning with all the chances we've made, but these are two games that will stand us in good stead," Bellingham said.

"I'm sure the manager will be happy with how we played. You're never happy with a loss or a draw but we have to be happy with how we played."

An early injury to Manchester City defender John Stones, who was substituted after 10 minutes, was a blow for England.

In other friendlies, Ireland lost 1-0 at home to Switzerland courtesy of a well-struck Xherdan Shaqiri free-kick, while Northern Ireland beat Scotland 1-0 in Glasgow to extend the hosts' winless run to seven games ahead of Euro 2024.

"I'm not counting," Scotland coach Steve Clarke said.

"We had more than the lion's share of possession, 14 shots, but not one good enough to go into the back of the net.

"It's probably fair to say we're not very good at friendlies because we don't win too many of them.

"Let's hope when we come to the competitive games in June we are ready to go. I'm sure we will be.

"The biggest thing for us is to be ready for June."

Brazil's Lucas Paqueta scored a penalty deep in added time to rescue a 3-3 draw with Spain in an ill-tempered friendly in Madrid.

Goals from Maximilian Mittelstadt and Niclas Fullkrug allowed Germany to recover from conceding an early goal to beat the Netherlands 2-1.

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