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Hazard sparkles as Belgium signal intent

Belgium 4-0 Hungary

Published 27/06/2016

In control: Eden Hazard sparked into life as Belgium reached the quarters
In control: Eden Hazard sparked into life as Belgium reached the quarters

Belgium produced their best performance of Euro 2016 to power into the quarter-finals with a convincing 4-0 win over Hungary in Toulouse.

Toby Alderweireld set up victory with an early header before the brilliant Eden Hazard teed-up substitute Michy Batshuayi for the second after 78 minutes and then scored a superb solo goal himself.

Yannick Carrasco wrapped up the triumph in injury-time.

After some disjointed performances earlier in the tournament, this was a display that marked out the highly-rated Belgium as serious contenders.

Hungary did trouble them in spells, but they were generally outclassed. Belgium went straight onto the offensive with the impressive Kevin de Bruyne, revelling in a central role behind Romelu Lukaku, shooting wide after four minutes.

De Bruyne linked superbly with Lukaku throughout and the Everton striker twice went close early on after being played in by the Manchester City man.

De Bruyne was the key figure in the opener, swinging in a curling free-kick that Alderweireld rose above Lukaku to head powerfully past Gabor Kiraly.

Hungary tried to tighten up and they did launch some sporadic attacks, with Balasz Dzsudzsak getting in one shot at Thibaut Courtois, but Belgium remained on the front foot.

De Bruyne headed at Kiraly from a Lukaku cross and then forced a brilliant save from the keeper with a free-kick.

The wider forwards, Hazard and Dries Mertens, were also heavily involved and the former teed-up the latter but again Kiraly produced a good save.

But Hungary fought back and worried Belgium for a spell. Adam Szalai shot over and Courtois needed to back-pedal to push over from Adam Pinter.

Belgium sent on Batshuayi for Lukaku and it paid instant dividends, although his goal owed much to the brilliance of Hazard.

Hazard lost his man on the left with a superb change of pace and his low ball presented Batshuayi with an unmissable chance.

Hazard went even better two minutes later, easing past defenders as he cut in and curled a low shot inside the far post.

Hungary might have had a consolation but Courtois saved from Akos Elek and Belgium broke to score again with Carrasco tucking home the fourth.

Belfast Telegraph

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