Belgium continues their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win over Finland
Belgium wants to cement their status as the best team in the European Championships. They’re looking good with their third win in as many games. Finnish goalkeeper Lukáš Hradecký scored an unfortunate own goal while Romelu Lukaku kept up his Golden Boot with his third goal.
It was a heartbreaking game for Hradecký because he had an excellent game before his own goal. He led the defence well and stopped every shot Belgium tried to kick past him. It was a back five setup for Finland and Hradecký did his best to call out every play Belgium had.
Unfortunately, in the 74th minute, disaster struck. Thomas Vermaelen attempted a header from a corner kick but it hit the post. However, in a stroke of luck for Belgium, it brushed past Hradecký’s glove and into the net. It was the first goal of the match and it turned out to be the start of the end for the Fins as Lukaku capitalized on the momentum. He scored a second and deciding goal seven minutes later.
A heartbreaker for Finland
It is hard not to feel bad for Finland, as they fought hard in every game they played. The first game was a controversial result because it was the game against Denmark where Christian Eriksen’s incident occurred. In the resumption, Finland managed to win but it was a tainted win without Denmark’s star player.
When they played against Russia, it was another heartbreaker because Aleksei Miranchuk scored a last-minute goal in the first half’s stoppage time. For almost the whole game, Finland defended well but a minor mishap always became the root of the problem.
Finland head coach Markku Kanerva talked about the loss and how it affected the squad.
‘I feel empty. I'm extremely proud about how well and how fearlessly they have played’, he said. ‘The fans stayed at the stadium, thanking the team, and they have inspired us. I don't know how many people thought we'd have a chance of qualifying going into the last game’.
Belgium continue their dominant ways
Eden Hazard was an unsung hero in this game because he made plays for the entire 90 minutes. That is an encouraging sight for Belgium fans because Hazard playing full games can only help the team which was evident in this game. He always made the right play and looked like his old self.
Belgium head coach Roberto Martínez talked about how Hazard is a big part of his system.
‘The fluency is part of the talent so I’m not worried at all’, the coach said. ‘It’s the first time I’ve seen Eden Hazard turning and twisting left and right, there is not one worry in mind. He feels strong, he feels happy, his body is reacting well and the next aspect is to see Eden with that final pass and that shot that he finishes in the back of the net’.
If not for Italy, Belgium is the favourite to win the event. The Italians look like the best team in the event because of their dominant wins with 3-0 score lines almost every game. Despite that, Belgium should be considered on the same level as them because they’re loaded with talent and they have a system that can be trusted over the past few years. This is the start of Italy’s resurgence and they tend to fail when the times get rough.
Words: Cholo Martin