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Saudi Arabia slip-up against Belgium

Written by: Staff
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SITTARD, Netherlands, May 12 (Reuters) Belgium dented Saudi Arabia's World Cup preparations with a 2-1 win over their Middle East opponents.

Goals in either half from Tom Caulwe and Anthony Vanden Borre cancelled out Bart Goor's own goal to give Belgian coach Rene Vandereycken his second win in as many games since taking over in January.

FC Utrecht's Caulwe crowned his debut with a goal after just three minutes before Goor headed in to his own net half an hour later.

But Anderlecht full back Vanden Borre fired home from the edge of the box to restore Belgium's lead in the 55th minute.

It was a sweet victory for Belgium who lost 1-0 to their opponents in their only other meeting in Washington -- a defeat which sent them home from the 1994 World Cup finals.

Belgium failed to qualify for next month's finals in Germany, the first time since 1978 they have failed to reach football's greatest stage.

''I am delighted with the performance tonight, especially since it was really a young team with new players,'' Vandereycken said.

Saudi Arabia will be in Germany, for their fourth finals in succession, and open their campaign against Tunisia on June 14 in Munich.

''Belgium were good and gave us the tough game we needed,'' said Saudi coach Marcos Cesar Dias Castro, better known as Marcos Paqueta.

''But what really matters is that we get it right in Germany and learn from these games.'' Paqueta's side face fellow finalists Togo in a warm-up match on Sunday.

Saudi play Ukraine in Hamburg on June 19 before rounding of their Group H games against Spain in Kaiserslautern four days later.

The World Cup begins in Munich on June 9.

REUTERS AY SSC1452

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