FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY, BELGIUM WON ALL THREE GROUP MATCHES, LEAVING FINLAND HOPING TO QUALIFY FOR THE LAST 16.
The process in St Petersburg was dominated by the world’s top-ranked team. However, they led to Lukas Hradecky’s goal for Fukoli before Romelu Lukaku scored the second goal.
Denmark’s 4-1 victory over Russia in Copenhagen knocked Finland down to third place in Group B. And they must now wait to see if they are one of the top four teams in third place. The Danes will face Wales again on Saturday in Amsterdam.
Finland looked impressive in their first appearance in the major tournament. It would play until Hradecky turned Thomas Vermaelen’s header in his line after returning to him with woodwork in the knockout stages. But, with a goal difference of -2, they are in danger for the third time.
The top four teams will advance to the knockout stages. And, with three more teams to go, Switzerland and Ukraine already have better records than the Finns.
Because Belgium won, England, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and France are all guaranteed to improve, even if they drop to third place because they all have four points.
Belgium’s De Bruyne responds to fitness concerns
On June 27, Belgium will face one of the third-place finishers in Seville. And they appear to be a formidable opponent, with only one defeat in their last 26 games.
Furthermore, in their 2-1 win over Denmark, head coach Roberto Martinez made eight substitutions. While his team only played well on the benches, the team’s relegation slowed.
Hradecky, the Finnish goalkeeper, was instrumental in opposing his team, making a strong debut for Jeremy Doku and Eden Hazard.
But when Vermaelen’s header hit the post, Hadecky was powerless to stop the ball from crossing the line. And he couldn’t do much after seven minutes when Lukaku scored from Kevin de Bruyne’s cross.
With the suspicion of pre-tournament fitness after breaking his nose and eye socket in the Champions League final, De Bruyne’s contribution will delight Belgian fans.
With 107 touches, the Manchester City midfielder had the most on the field. And has made more important passes (seven) than any other player, as well as five tackles.