Eden Hazard fires Belgium into Euro 2016 quarterfinals
Eden Hazard produced one of the most scintillating performances of his international career to inspire Belgium to a 4-0 win over Hungary at Euro 2016.
The midfielder, who endured a dismal season in the English Premier League with Chelsea, turned on the style to help Belgium set up a quarterfinal clash with Wales next Friday.
Hazard scored the third goal of this contest — a quite sumptuous effort after he had weaved his way through the Hungarian defense.
Yannick Carrasco added a fourth in stoppage time as Belgium recorded the biggest victory at this year’s tournament.
“It was a great game,” Hazard told the tournament’s official website.
“We really deserved the victory. We could have scored more, but the keeper made some great stops.
“But we won’t worry about that. We are happy and through to the quarterfinals in Lille. “
Belgium had taken a 10th minute lead though Toby Alderweireld as it dominated the first half against a Hungarian side which had drawn 3-3 with Portugal in its previous game.
Few had expected Hungary to escape from its group, let alone win it — but Bernd Storck’s side have confounded its critics from the very start.
But against one of the favorites to win the tournament it was left chasing shadows as Belgium’s pace and power proved too difficult to cope with.
Trailing by a single goal at the interval, Hungary emerged determined to find a way back into the contest.
Belgium goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made a fine save to deny Adam Pinter while Roland Juhasz fired inches wide of the far post when well placed.
That miss was to prove costly as with 12 minutes of the contest remaining Hazard picked out substitute Michy Batshuayi who scored with his first touch of the night.
A minute later it was three, Hazard dancing his way past the Hungarian defense before unleashing an exquisite effort into the far corner to round off a wonderfully constructed counter-attack.
Carrasco added a fourth late on to add further gloss as Belgium eased home.
In truth, Belgium could have won this contest by six or seven had it not been for its wasteful nature in front of goal.
Gabor Kiraly, Hungary’s 40-year-old goalkeeper made a number of impressive saves during the first half.
But he could only look on and watch as Belgium scored three times in 13 minutes to wrap up the tie and move into the last eight.