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De Bruyne fires Belgium to victory

Kevin De Bruyne turned in another starring role as Belgium beat Italy 3-1 in Brussels.

The playmaker has made an explosive start to his City career and he continued his recent hot streak with a match winning display, grabbing a goal and an assist in the first game since Belgium were officially crowned the world’s no.1 team in the FIFA rankings.

The visitors struck early through Candreva, but De Bruyne waited just ten more minutes to make an impact, swinging in a dangerous corner from which Jan Vertonghen converted to level the scores.

KDB stayed at the forefront of proceedings throughout, setting up several more chances and curling an attempted cross narrowly wide of the far stick.

However, the scores remained level until the 74th minute, when De Bruyne took matters into his own hands and got the goal his performance deserved, following up on the rebound when Batshuayi’s shot was blocked and finding the bottom corner.

Batshuayi added the third himself to give the result a true reflection of Belgium’s superiority during an entertaining encounter.

Jason Denayer, currently returning from injury, came on for the last half hour to help his country record a dominant win over the Italians.

Meanwhile, Joe Hart wore the captain’s armband for England but endured a disappointing evening in Alicante, as the Three Lions went down 2-0 to Spain.

City had three representatives on the pitch, with Hart joined by teammates Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling in Roy Hodgson’s starting XI.

Defence and keeper remained strong under difficult circumstances until the 72nd minute, when Hart was finally beaten by a spectacular overhead kick from the boot of Mario Gaspar.

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla doubled the advantage and captain Hart was visibly frustrated in his post-match interview.

Delph had one of England’s best chances of the night, drilling a low effort from the edge of the box straight at Iker Casillas, and the Three Lions struggled against La Roja’s possession-based football.

The 2012 European Champions are a formidable force, even without the injured David Silva.

Kelechi Iheanacho added yet another milestone to what is shaping up to be a sensational season, making his debut for the senior Nigerian side in their World Cup qualifier against Swaziland.

It was a blue chip moment for the teenager, who has been rewarded for his fine club form with a first call up to Sunday Oliseh’s senior side, having previously come to the footballing world’s attention with a series of inspiring displays for the country’s youth teams.

However, it wasn’t too happy a debut for Kelechi, who was unable to help his country find a breakthrough and they were forced to settle for a goalless draw.

In the early hours, Nicolas Otamendi played all 90 minutes in the rearranged "Superclasico" between Argentina and Brazil. 

It was a hard-fought encounter that ended all square, although La Albiceleste can be reasonably pleased with the 1-1 draw given the absence of both Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi up front. 

The first meeting between the sides for six years, the match had to be delayed 24 hours due to the weather and leaves Argentina, winless in three matches, languishing in 8th in the World Cup qualifying table, while La Selecao are fifth. 

Fernandinho and Martin Demichelis were unused subs for Brazil and Argentina respectively. 

Elsewhere, EDS forward Bersant Celina started up front for the senior Kosovo side in their friendly against Albania on Friday.

Despite his tender years, Bersant was given penalty responsibilities for his country and made no mistake from the spot to level things up at 1-1. It finished 2-2 with Celina enjoying a fine game in his national colours.

Aleks Kolarov set up a consolation goal for Serbia but couldn’t prevent his side going down 4-1 away to the Czech Republic in a friendly.

The left back put in a super ball for Petar Skuletic to head home on 78 minutes to make the score 2-1, but the hosts replied almost immediately to effectively end the contest and Ondřej Zahustel added a fourth in stoppage time to end a chastening night for the Serbs.

Bacary Sagna played all 90 minutes and helped France to a 2-0 win over World Champions Germany. Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi got the goals for Didier Deschamps’ side.

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