Hungary played Belgium at Toulouse for the sixth match of the round of 16 for the Euros. Both, of course, needed a win to qualify for the quarter finals against Wales, however, it was pretty difficult to pick out a winner till the very end of the game which made for some interesting watching.
The first half was all Belgium, they were on the front foot, dominating the opposition half and passing the ball around very well, in fact to such an extent that by the 10th minute, they were a goal up thanks to Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld, who got a free header and shot right behind the keeper from De Bruyne’s free kick. This stopped all Hungarian operations and made them think for a minute, however, Belgium tried very well to exploit this opportunity and score another but the Hungarian goalie, Gabor Kiraly, kept the Hungarians in the game.
Hungary decided to step up after about 40 minutes, when they started getting a few shots on target and giving a good battle in mid field, their chances, however, were a lot less than those of the Belgians, and they needed to step up their game further, but they were still in it, or so it seemed. The biggest highlight of the first half other than the goal would have to be Kevin De Bruyne, his work rate and intellect was unbeatable, he did not however, get a goal today, tried very hard and certainly deserved one though.
The first half ended at 0-1 with a game of “ping pong” in the injury time. A decent talk by either of the managers during the break would have made all the difference were things to carry on the way they were.
The game of ping pong did carry on and to be honest, it did become boring for quite some time. Both teams got their chances but none finished, thanks to a few offsides and bad luck, the score remained the same. An interesting thing to note was the desperation for a goal by Hungary, it was very interesting to see them try to battle it out and not give up like a few teams did in the group stages, they changed their tactics, gave a shot to possession based play and it seemed to work for them, but not enough to get them on the score sheet.
A man called Michy Batshuayi was subbed on for Romelu Lukaku in the 76th minute and it all went haywire, in just 60 seconds of being on the pitch, Batshuayi got a touch on the ball, and just like that he scored the second goal for Belgium. However, a lot of the credit must be given to Eden Hazard who decided to put his foot on the gas and after some good dribbling and passing, got a fantastic assist and that wasn’t the end of the story for him, he returned to the Hungarian box about 3 minutes later on a counter to score another magnificent goal from outside the box. He had a few moments before being subbed off and he made them count, a great game by the Chelsea man.
Credit must be given to Hungary though, even after being 3-0 down, they were pushing for a goal, they did not lose hope and that’s quite important in a game of football. They got very close to scoring soon after the goal but Courtois wanted to keep a clean sheet and allowed Belgium to counter, which further allowed Yannick Carrasco to score a fourth goal for Belgium, total domination by the Belgian Red Devils tonight.
The game of ping pong resumed but not a lot happened after the fourth goal, the deed was pretty much done and Hungary had been broken down successfully. The match ended with the score at 0-4. Belgium now face Wales in the second Quarter Final on Friday at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
Overall both teams played very well till the end, Hungary’s team spirit and motivation is indeed commendable, they tried their best but it just wasn’t enough. The defence was pretty shabby in the beginning but improved quite a bit, especially in majority of the second half, but it completely disappeared for the last two goals, and that’s probably the reason you shouldn’t push for goals when you’re 3 goals down and have 9 minutes to play. Good tactics on their end, but everything went to hell after those 12 minutes of goals.
Belgium on the other hand were much like France in this game, the mid field was flawless, a lot of great passes were kicked about and some good defensive tackles were made, their finishing wasn’t all that good until the 78th minute though but the only problem that was notable, was a poor defensive mid, while the attack was quite perfect and the back four was the stronger one, the defensive mid allowed the Hungarians strikers to get very close to the box and the goal, in fact it is quite a miracle that they didn’t score tonight. However, they can go very far in the tournament if they play like this.
It is indeed sad to see Hungary go but at the same time, it would be interesting to see what Belgium and Wales do in the Quarter final. The last two games of the Round of 16 will be played tomorrow at St Dennis and Nice.
Images : Indian Express, GOAL, Mirror