Belgium beat Finland by 0-2 in their final Group B match at the European Championship. Lukas Hradecky scored an own goal and Romelu Lukaku added a second for the world’s number one side.
The result leaves Finland’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 in the balance. Denmark beat Russia 4-1 to move up to third in the group, while Wales face Wales on Saturday.
DE BRUYNE ANSWERS WELLNESS STRESSES
Belgium will play one of the third-place finishers in Seville on 27 June and they look like fearsome resistance with one loss in their previous 26 matches.
Lead trainer Roberto Martinez rolled out eight improvements from their 2-1 success over Denmark and keeping in mind that his side just played with familiarity with patches, they gradually wore out a restrained side.
Finland manager Hradecky was key in his side’s opposition as he created fine saves to deny Jeremy Doku and Eden Hazard.
However, when Vermaelen’s header hit the post Hradecky was defenseless as the ball struck him to go too far and after seven minutes he could do little when Lukaku crushed home from a Kevin de Bruyne pass.
De Bruyne’s commitment will please Belgium’s supporters given pre-competition wellness questions after he cracked his nose and eye attachment in the Champions League last.
The Manchester City midfielder had a bigger number of contacts than anybody on the pitch with 107, played more key passes (seven) than any player, and made a game-high five handles.