Belgium produced a breath-taking display on Sunday as they beat Hungary 4-0 at Stadium Municipal to advance to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
- Hungary 0 Belgium 4
- Alderweireld heads home opener
- Batshuayi extends lead late on
- Hazard scores quick-fire third
- Carrasco seals convincing win
The Red Devils took the lead after just 10 minutes when Toby Alderweireld headed home a free-kick, although they had to wait until the closing stages of second half to seal victory.
The Hungarians put up a good fight but three goals in the final 12 minutes killed them off. Michy Batshuayi tapped home from close range after super work from Eden Hazard to set him up before the Chelsea winger scored a brilliant individual effort and Yannick Carrasco gave the scoreline some gloss in stoppage time.
Belgium provided most of the attacking impetus in an entertaining encounter in Toulouse, although Hungary were by no means quiet.
Marc Wilmots’ side created their first chance after just four minutes when Kevin De Bruyne lashed a shot over the crossbar from just outside the area.
Two minutes later Gabor Kiraly had his first save to make as he denied Romelu Lukaku from point-blank range after the striker got a second bite at the cherry from De Bruyne’s cross.
The Manchester City attacker was next to test Kiraly with a strike from 18 yards out on seven minutes, but there was nothing the veteran goalkeeper could do to prevent Belgium from taking the lead three minutes later.
A pin-point free-kick from De Bruyne found Alderweireld at the back post and the defender powered his header beyond Kiraly from a few yards out.
Kiraly was given more work to do on 15 minutes as he pulled off a sharp save to keep out De Bruyne from inside the area after he was played through on goal by Lukaku.
The Hungarians had been playing some good football themselves without threatening much, but they did manage to carve out an opportunity on 24 minutes when Balazs Dzsudzsak got past his marker before forcing a save out of Thibaut Courtois from 20 yards out.
But Kiraly was by far the busier of the two keepers and he had to be alert to tip De Bruyne’s excellent free-kick onto the crossbar on 35 minutes, with Lukaku heading over on the follow-up.
Bernd Storck’s men finished the half strongly and they went close to equalising twice in the space of two minutes as Gergo Lovrencsics flashed a shot inches over the crossbar from range before Dzsudzsak saw his effort from 20 yards out go past Courtois’ left post by the narrowest of margins.
Dries Mertens nearly doubled his team’s lead just before half-time as he created space for a shot inside the area on the left, but Kiraly stood firm and parried the ball away to safety.
The action continued in the second half as Hazard produced a fine save out of Kiraly with his strike from a narrow angle on the left just seconds after the restart.
Adam Szalai then threatened on two occasions in quick succession for Hungary, firing narrowly wide of the target from inside the area on the right before his header was deflected inches past the post from Dzsudzsak’s left-wing cross.
They soaked up more pressure from the Belgians before Adam Pinter caused Courtois problems with a shot from outside the area that took a deflection off a defender and forced a fingertip save from the Chelsea keeper on 66 minutes.
Roland Juhasz went close again two minutes later, drilling a low shot fractionally wide of the far post after a free-kick on the left found him inside the area on the right.
But the Hungary defence switched off with 12 minutes remaining and they were punished as Hazard broke away down the left flank before squaring a delightful ball for Batshuayi. who had the simple task of tapping home from a few yards out.
Hazard capped off a superb performance moments later when he cut in from the left and ran across the 18-yard area before curling the ball beyond Kiraly into the bottom corner of the net.
Courtois seemed determined to keep a clean sheet as he tipped Szalai’s 12-yard strike over the crossbar on 83 minutes, before denying Akos Elek with a super save from a few yards out at the death.
However, the Red Devils still had more in the tank as they scored a fourth goal soon afterwards as Hungary gave the ball away on the halfway line. Radja Nainggolan collected the ball and played in Carrasco, who beat Kiraly from inside the area to wrap up a fine win.