Eden Hazard displayed, arguably, the best individual show of Euro 2016 and led his team from the very front to the next stage of the competition. Such was the magic of his brilliant performance that even the Hungarian fans gave him a standing ovation when he was substituted towards the end of the match.
Belgium began the day brightly as they launched early attacks denying Hungary any time to breath. Subsequently, in the 10th minute, Kevin De Bruyne took a brilliant curling free kick from a distance of 30 yards and while the Hungarian defence was asleep leaving Toby Alderweireld and Romero Lukaku unmarked in the box, the ball feel perfectly for Toby who headed it in.
Belgium had the ideal start to the game but as fierce as the audience have witnessed Hungary this Euro, the Nemzeti Tizenegy didn’t sit back and had their own try at the goal. In the 23rd minute, Hungary moved well in the Belgian half but to their dismay, the final effort from Balazs Dzsudzsak was easily collected by the Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois.
As the half hour mark came close, Belgium seemed deadly with Eden Hazard running through the wings and creating chances.
He took great positions and directed the game play that Belgium displayed. In the 34th minute, Mertens was brought down just outside the box and De Bruyne took a delicious free kick right at spot to which the Hungarian goalkeeper Kiraly made an excellent save to deny him. Just five minutes before half time, Belgium felt a momentary scare when Gergo Lovrencsics’ strike went just over the bar.
The first half completely belonged to Belgium with Hazard and De Bruyne at the heart of their game.
With the onset of the second half, Hungary pulled up their strings as Belgium took a back seat. Hungary went deep into the Belgian box many a times and created spaces but the defence held their feet. In the 65th minute, Courtois made a good save to Pinter’s strike. Again in the 67th minute, Hungary took a good free kick and Juhasz struck it to the far post but it went just wide. Also, Szalai was very close to tapping it in.
As the momentum of the match built up towards the end, Hazard made a fabulous run on the left in the 78th minute and set up the ball perfectly for Michy Batsuayi who tapped it in easily finding himself completely unmarked.
Just a minute later, Hazard doubled the skill he had been displaying all night and made a perfect move upfield cutting through three defenders to strike the ball home. The moment of brilliance finally gave him the reward for his hard work throughout the game.
Despite Hungary being in a deep deficit of three goals, they showed an exceptionally admirable quality of not giving up. Late in the 89th minute, Hungary saw two of their consolation efforts go in vain as Szalai’s strike tipped over the bar and Akos Elek’s shot was saved by Courtois.
But immediately, Belgium broke through and De Bruyne picked another assist as he lent a timely pass to Carrasco who slotted the ball home from under Kiraly.
As Hungary bowed out of the tournament, they earned much respect and applause while Belgium moved ahead in the competition ready to face Wales in the quarter-finals.