Euro 2020: Kevin de Bruyne comes off the bench to help Belgium beat Denmark 2-1, qualify for knockouts

Kevin de Bruyne inspired Belgium to a comeback win against Denmark that secured their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Kevin de Bruyne delivered a fantastic performance against Denmark. (Image Credit: Twitter/@EURO2020)

Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne helped Belgium pull off a stunning comeback in the second half of a Group B encounter against Denmark, with the Red Devils pulling off a 2-1 win. The triumph has enabled them to progress to the knockout stages of the Euro 2020. Belgium were trailing 1-0 going into half-time following an early goal by Yusuf Poulsen. However, an equaliser by Thorgan Hazard and winner by De Bruyne with the latter coming off the bench, helped the team complete a stunning turnaround.

“You get your top man on and it was like ‘he’s here – we’re going to be ok’. He scored one, made one, never gave the ball away.. it’s a different level,” said Graeme Souness in an interaction with ITV Football.

The Manchester City midfielder recorded a 100 % shot accuracy and take-on rate. He completed the most take-ons (5), registered the most touches in the box (3), creating two big chances (the most). De Bruyne completed two shots on target, recording a goal and an assist. No player has been directly involved in more goals (2) for Belgium in the popular tournament barring the Manchester City midfielder. Belgium have emerged victorious in a Euro match in which they were trailing for the first time, further winning their opening two matches in the popular tournament for the first time. One major contributor barring De Bruyne was winger Eden Hazard who further came on as a sub.

Fine display by Eden Hazard

Since the 2014 World Cup, Hazard has recorded more assists than any other European player in major international tournaments (9). He further joins De Bruyne as the only two Europeans to assist a goal in each of the last four major tournaments. The duo are the first pair of substitutes to both assist in a European Championship match for the same side since Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben for the Netherlands (v France) in 2008.

While Denmark will be disappointed having conceded two goals and the initiative in the second half, the performance of 20-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard is certainly praiseworthy. Damsgaard recorded 54 touches and 2 key passes in 72 minutes, completing 5 out of 7 successive dribbles, winning 9 out of 11 duels and registering 2 tackles.

Tribute to Christian Eriksen

One of the most noteworthy moments of the game was the tribute to Denmark’s talismanic number 10 Christian Eriksen before and after the game, with play stopped in the 10 minutes as players, officials and supporters joined together for a minute’s applause. Another interesting aspect is the fact that Dries Mertens has now won 100 caps for Belgium, making his presence felt with fine performances.

Group C has become quite unpredictable now with Belgium likely to win the group. However, Denmark play Russia in the final game and there will be a lot of excitement in store in that encounter. Finland will be looking to seal the third place, having been defeated by Russia recently. The second and potential third spot is up for grabs.

Sportslumo Desk

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