The Red Devils secured a 2-0 victory to finish top of Group B.
Belgium continued their impressive start to UEFA Euro 2020 with a 2-0 victory over Finland. The outfits fought closely during an entertaining game, but the World No.1 team eventually emerged as the victors. Both teams went into half-time on even terms, but second half goals from Lukas Hradecky (own-goal) and Romelu Lukaku were enough to secure the three points.
Belgium have now won all three of their Group B games and look strong contenders to go all the way. The professional performance from the Red Devils brought forward a lot of interesting points of discussion. There are several important takeaways from Belgium’s most recent victory, as they look to finally win a major international tournament.
Here are the five takeaways from Belgium’s win over Finland at the Euros:
5. Jeremy Doku is one to watch
Exciting young winger Jeremy Doku was part of the Belgium starting lineup against Finland. Roberto Martinez put his faith in the 19-year-old to express himself in a game where there was nothing to lose. Since qualification was a certainty, Doku was able to announce his arrival on the big stage.
The Stade Rennais attacker was a livewire during his stay on the pitch. He had a shot on target and made three key passes. The winger showed great movement with the ball and has the capability of striking it well with both feet. Jeremy Doku is one player who will be on the radar of many top clubs in Europe.
4. The defence must remain solid
Belgium’s defence was relatively solid against Finland. They did not give away a lot of chances to the opposition and came away with a clean-sheet. Finland only had one shot on target, five shots were blocked and they could not create any big chances. Belgium have conceded only one goal in the tournament, which came on the back of an unforced error from Jason Denayer against Denmark.
Dedryck Boyata and Thomas Vermaelen played crucial roles during the victory, as the latter’s header led to the first goal of the match. Thibaut Courtois is hard to beat, especially if the defenders provide him good cover. The opponents to come will pose a greater threat to Belgium’s backline and they must continue to shut teams out in order to go farther in the tournament.
3. Belgium have a real chance to go all the way
Belgium’s golden generation of players are slowly passing their peak. The World No.1 team have not won a major international title, despite boasting of major talents. Players like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thorgan Hazard and more are thankfully in good form. This is perhaps the best chance for Belgium’s roster of extremely talented players to finally deliver a major crown.
Roberto Martinez must utilize the talent at his disposal in the best way. Judging by the first three games, they are serious contenders this year. Moreover, they are also undefeated in the last 12 games.
2. Romelu Lukaku is the key
Romelu Lukaku’s goalscoring ability is well-known. The striker has a great eye for goal and usually finds himself on the scoresheet. The Inter Milan forward has now scored three goals in the tournament, which takes him joint-top with Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrick Schick and Georginio Wijnaldum in the race for the Golden Boot.
If Belgium are to lift the title or at least reach the latter stages of the tournament, then Lukaku must continue his scoring feats. The second goal against Finland buried any hopes of a comeback by the opposition. The former Manchester United player will like to guide his nation to the crown and secure the Golden Boot himself in the process.
Kevin De Bruyne’s creativity is the driving force
Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne completed 90 minutes against Finland. This was a hugely positive sign for the fans, as the Manchester City player was recovering from a face injury he sustained during the UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea. He provided yet another assist for Lukaku’s goal against Finland. He also made a huge difference in the comeback victory against Denmark after coming on as a substitute.
The 29-year-old provided the assist for the equalizer and scored the winner against the Danes. De Bruyne has two assists and a goal in two appearances and has 4-5 key passes per game. Belgium are a different beast when he is on the pitch and his form will be the driving force behind the Red Devils’ run in the tournament.