Euro 2016 round up: Hungary 0 Belgium 4 - and what the result means

Hungary's forward Adam Szalai (left) vies for the ball with Belgium's forward Eden Hazard during the Euro 2016 football match on June 26.
Hungary's forward Adam Szalai (left) vies for the ball with Belgium's forward Eden Hazard during the Euro 2016 football match on June 26. PHOTO: AFP

With the angels looking out for the Red Devils, all that was left for Belgium to do was win. And how they romped to victory at the Stadium de Toulouse to set up a quarter-final clash with Wales.

Things continued to go Belgium's way on Sunday after they found themselves favourites to make the final from the top half of the draw despite finishing as Group E runners-up.

Hungary's key man and playmaker Laszlo Kleinheisler was injured in the warm up and replaced by Adam Pinter. Then, the Hungarian defence gifted them a 9th-minute opener.

They stepped up as Kevin de Bruyne swung in a free kick but failed to catch Belgium offside. Toby Alderweireld and Romelu Lukaku were queuing up at the back post, and the Tottenham Hotspur defender headed home unmarked.

But it would be unfair to suggest that Belgium were lucky. They dominated the first half, taking 16 shots, with eight hitting the target. If not for the heroics of 40-year-old goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, Hungary would have faced a further deficit going into the break.

 
 
 

But Belgium would get their insurance in the 77th minute. Substitute Michy Batshuayi scored his first touch after great work from Eden Hazard on the left flank.

The Chelsea forward deservedly got on the scoresheet two minutes later, beating three defenders before drilling the ball into the bottom corner.

Yannick Carrasco then completed Belgium's biggest win at a major tournament by beating Kiraly at his near post in stoppage time.

Kiraly made a tournament-high 10 saves but still could not prevent a rout.

Belgium look like a collection of individual stars playing as a team. They look dangerous. And they look like they can take full advantage of a favourable draw.

Match highlights

- In the 6th minute, de Bruyne hit a low shot from the edge of the box and Kiraly saved.

- Three minutes later, de Bruyne was fouled by Adam Lang. The Manchester City man picked himself up to take the free kick on the left flank from about 30 yards out. His delivery was headed home by Alderweireld.

- In the 15th minute, Lukaku almost made Hungary pay for holding a high line. His through ball split the defence, and de Bruyne just had the goalkeeper to beat. But his angled drive on the right was saved.

- In the 25th minute, Dries Mertens was unmarked on the right flank and had time and space to pick out Hazard in the box. But his low cross was smothered by Kiraly.

- In the 32nd minute, Radja Nainggolan won the ball back and launched a counter-attack. Belgium found themselves in a three-on-two situation on the break. The move ended when Lukaku sliced the ball wide, when Hazard, free in the box, offered a better option.

- Two minutes later, Tamas Kadar clipped Mertens outside the box. De Bruyne took the free kick, which was tipped onto the bar by Kiraly.

- In the 39th minute, Gergo Lovrencsics' long-range effort just cleared the bar.

- In the 42nd minute, Hazard put Mertens through on goal but Kiraly saved. Axel Witsel kept the move alive and Mertens got a second bite but his shot was blocked.

- From the restart, Hazard's shot towards the top-left corner was tipped over by Kiraly.

- In the 50th minute, a neat one-two gave Adam Szalai a shooting opportunity but his angled drive went wide.

- Nine minutes later, Hazard's cross across the face of the goal was put over by Mertens.

- In the 68th minute, Roland Juhasz's strike across the face of goal went just wide.

- In the 77th minute, de Bruyne's deep corner was brought down by Hazard. He played the ball into space on the left, raced onto it, before unleashing a low cross for Batshuayi to tap home.

- Two minutes later, a counter-attacking move found Hazard on the left. He cut inside, went past three defenders, then curled the ball into the bottom left corner.

- In stoppage time, Hungary, in search of a consolation, forced Thibaut Courtois into a save. Belgium went down the other end, with Nainggolan playing a through ball for Carrasco. The Atletico Madrid man finished emphatically at the near post.

The talking point

Can Hungary be a force again? The "Magical Magyars" were the best side in the world in the 1950s and football is capturing the country's imagination once again.

Hungary have exceeded expecations in their first international tournament for 30 years. They were joint-top scorers in the group stage with six goals and have a deeper squad than most give them credit for. Bernd Storck made five changes for the Portugal game, resting players on yellow cards and they still managed a 3-3 draw.

As group winners, they were somewhat unfortunate to be drawn against Belgium in the round of 16. But they now have to look forwards, rather than back, and build on their success in France.

Man of the Match

Hazard. The Belgium captain put in a world-class performance. A goal and an assist aside, he had 11 successful dribbles - three more than any player at Euro 2016 so far. He created four chances and completed 90 per cent of his passes.

What the result means

Belgium will face debutants Wales for a place in the semi-finals. They will be without centre-back Thomas Vermaelen, who picked up another yellow card and will be suspended. Pundits and fans have been crying out for Jan Vertonghen, employed as a left-back by Marc Wilmots, to play alongside Alderweireld in central defence. The Tottenham duo could renew their partnership against Wales.

Wales, like Hungary, notched six goals in the group stage. Chris Coleman's men, who saw off Northern Ireland on Saturday, will have an extra day's rest. The winners of that clash will face either Portugal or Poland.

Key statistic

Hazard has as many assists (three) at Euro 2016 as he had for Chelsea in the Premier League last season.

What they said

Hazard: "For the time being we have achieved nothing, we are just in the quarters and we will take it one game at a time. We played against a great team and I'd like to congratulate Hungary, who gave everything. As a team I feel we were really solid today. We made a lot of chances, and didn't give them too many."

Hungary manager Bernd Storck: :We knew we were coming up against terrific opposition. I have to congratulate the team for their performance throughout the championships. We have a positive view of the future."