Finland 0-2 Belgium: Lukaku on target as Red Devils top Group B
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Stephen Creek
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Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku
Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku

Belgium ran out clear winners of Group B at Euro 2020 after Romelu Lukaku scored in a 2-0 victory over Finland, who are still in with a chance of reaching the last 16 after finishing third.

Finland goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was the game's outstanding player before he scored a calamitous own goal in the 74th minute, with the superb Lukaku then netting his third goal of the tournament seven minutes later.

The Red Devils delivered another performance befitting their billing as one of the favourites, progressing to the knockout stages having scored seven goals in three group matches.

Markku Kanerva's Finland team battled hard in defence but offered little by way of a goal threat, mustering just one shot on target during the contest.

Just as lively as Lukaku in the Belgian attack was teenager Jeremy Doku, who drew the best save of the first half when his powerful angled drive forced Hradecky to make a one-handed stop at full stretch.

Lukaku had the ball in the net just after the hour mark only to have the goal ruled out for the most marginal of offside calls by the video assistant referee.

But there was no doubt when Thomas Vermaelen's header from a corner bounced up onto the post and went in off the unfortunate Hradecky's hand.

Lukaku doubled Belgium's lead to put the result beyond doubt nine minutes from time, receiving a pass from Kevin De Bruyne and turning neatly before burying a shot into the bottom corner of the net from 12 yards out.


What does it mean? Belgium repeat maximum points feat

Belgium qualified having won all of their group stage matches for the second consecutive major tournament, having also managed the feat at the 2018 World Cup.

However, this was the first time they have won all of their group stage games in a single edition of the European Championships.

De Bruyne does the business again

Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne has provided an assist in each of his last three matches for Belgium in all competitions, adding another one here to take his tally to 38 assists for his country in 78 appearances.

Pukki kept quiet

Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki carried Finland's best hope of a goal, but they became the first nation in the history of the tournament to manage fewer than four shots on target across three group games.

Key Opta facts

- Finland suffered their first defeat to Belgium since October 1968 in a World Cup qualifier, ending a seven-game unbeaten run against them (W4 D3).
- Belgium have scored in 33 consecutive matches in all competitions since losing the 2018 World Cup semi-final to France (0-1).
- Axel Witsel had the first attempt on goal in the 23rd minute, with only two European Championship matches having a longer wait for a first shot on goal since the start of the 1980 tournament (when shot data began to be collected); Greece vs Spain in 2004 (26 minutes) and Portugal vs Croatia in 2016 (25 minutes).
- There have been six own goals scored at EURO 2020, twice as many than in any previous edition of the competition (3 in 2016).
- Doku (19 years and 25 days) became the second youngest player to appear for Belgium at a European Championship tournament after Enzo Scifo, who was 18 years and 115 days old when making his debut against Yugoslavia in 1984.

What's next?

Belgium will play the third-placed side from either Group A, D, E or F in Seville on Sunday, while Finland will hope they emerge as one of the top four third-placed finishers despite owning a negative goal difference.

Tags

European ChampionshipFinlandBelgium
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