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Belgium beats Tunisia 1-0 in final friendly before World Cup as hailstorm delays victory

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BRUSSELS - Dries Mertens scored one minute from time as Belgium scrapped to a 1-0 victory over Tunisia in its final preparation game for the World Cup on Saturday.

The match was interrupted for about 40 minutes after a severe hail storm forced players off the field in the first half.

After a successful preparation campaign highlighted by a 5-1 victory over Luxembourg and a 2-0 win in Sweden, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots sought safety first for the send-off game against Tunisia.

He kept Romelu Lukaku on the bench until the 61st minute after the striker had already proven his form with four goals in the last two games. He also experimented in midfield by keeping expected World Cup starters Axel Witsel and Kevin De Bruyne sidelined.

Tunisia was reduced to 10 men after 63 minutes when Issam Jemaa was sent off for a second yellow card for grabbing Vincent Kompany's shirt.

Belgium dominated but lacked the cutting edge and had only a few shots at goal until Mertens slotted home after being set up by Nacer Chadli's pass.

Belgium plays Russia, South Korea and Algeria in Group H.

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