Belgium win to leave Finland waiting on last-16 hopeson June 21, 2021 at 9:34 pm

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Belgium score two second-half goals to secure top spot in Group B and leave Finland’s qualification hopes in the balance.

The world’s number-one ranked side dominated proceedings in St Petersburg but only led through a late own goal from Finland keeper Lukas Hradecky, before Romelu Lukaku drilled a second.

Finland slipped from second in Group B to third by virtue of Denmark’s 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen and they must now wait to see whether they qualify as one of the four best third-placed teams. The Danes go on to face Wales on Saturday in Amsterdam.

In their first appearance at a major tournament, Finland looked resolute and on course for the knockout stages until Hradecky turned a Thomas Vermaelen header over his own line after it came back to him off the woodwork, but they now look vulnerable in third given their goal difference is -2.

Four third-placed teams will reach the knockout phase and two – Switzerland and Ukraine – already hold better records than the Finns, with three more groups to be completed.

Belgium’s win also means England, the Czech Republic, Sweden and France are guaranteed to progress even if they drop to third because they all have four points already.

De Bruyne answers fitness worries

Belgium will play one of the third place finishers in Seville on 27 June and they look like fearsome opposition with one defeat in their past 26 matches.

Head coach Roberto Martinez made eight changes from their 2-1 win over Denmark and while his side only played with fluency in patches, they slowly wore down a disciplined side.

Finland keeper Hradecky was key in his side’s resistance as he produced fine saves to deny Jeremy Doku and Eden Hazard.

But when Vermaelen’s header hit the post Hradecky was helpless as the ball struck him to cross the line and seven minutes later he could do little when Lukaku smashed home from a Kevin de Bruyne pass.

De Bruyne’s contribution will please Belgium’s followers given pre-tournament fitness doubts after he fractured his nose and eye socket in the Champions League final.

The Manchester City midfielder had more touches than anyone on the pitch with 107, played more key passes (seven)than any player, and made a game-high five tackles.

Finland

  1. Squad number1Player nameHrádecky
    Average rating

    7.23

  2. Squad number6Player nameKamara
    Average rating

    7.22

  3. Squad number10Player namePukki
    Average rating

    6.15

  4. Squad number14Player nameSparv
    Average rating

    6.09

  5. Squad number3Player nameO’Shaughnessy
    Average rating

    5.84

  6. Squad number2Player nameArajuuri
    Average rating

    5.84

  7. Squad number18Player nameUronen
    Average rating

    5.81

  8. Squad number22Player nameRaitala
    Average rating

    5.75

  9. Squad number20Player namePohjanpalo
    Average rating

    5.72

  10. Squad number8Player nameLod
    Average rating

    5.58

  11. Squad number4Player nameToivio
    Average rating

    5.51

  12. Squad number9Player nameJensen
    Average rating

    5.35

  13. Squad number11Player nameSchüller
    Average rating

    5.23

  14. Squad number19Player nameKauko
    Average rating

    5.20

  15. Squad number17Player nameAlho
    Average rating

    5.12

  16. Squad number26Player nameForss
    Average rating

    5.03

Belgium

  1. Squad number7Player nameDe Bruyne
    Average rating

    8.08

  2. Squad number9Player nameLukaku
    Average rating

    7.65

  3. Squad number25Player nameDoku
    Average rating

    7.37

  4. Squad number24Player nameTrossard
    Average rating

    7.06

  5. Squad number6Player nameWitsel
    Average rating

    6.99

  6. Squad number3Player nameVermaelen
    Average rating

    6.96

  7. Squad number10Player nameE Hazard
    Average rating

    6.83

  8. Squad number1Player nameCourtois
    Average rating

    6.75

  9. Squad number4Player nameBoyata
    Average rating

    6.65

  10. Squad number18Player nameDenayer
    Average rating

    6.61

  11. Squad number15Player nameMeunier
    Average rating

    6.45

  12. Squad number22Player nameChadli
    Average rating

    6.34

  13. Squad number23Player nameBatshuayi
    Average rating

    6.26

  14. Squad number20Player nameBenteke
    Average rating

    6.21

  15. Squad number17Player nameVanaken
    Average rating

    6.03

Line-ups

Finland

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Hrádecky
  • 22Raitala
  • 4Toivio
  • 2Arajuuri
  • 3O’Shaughnessy
  • 18UronenSubstituted forAlhoat 70’minutes
  • 8LodSubstituted forForssat 90+1’minutes
  • 14SparvSubstituted forSchüllerat 59’minutes
  • 6Kamara
  • 10PukkiSubstituted forJensenat 90+1’minutes
  • 20PohjanpaloSubstituted forKaukoat 70’minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Väisänen
  • 7Taylor
  • 9Jensen
  • 11Schüller
  • 12Joronen
  • 13Soiri
  • 17Alho
  • 19Kauko
  • 23Jaakkola
  • 24Valakari
  • 25Ivanov
  • 26Forss

Belgium

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Courtois
  • 18Denayer
  • 4Boyata
  • 3Vermaelen
  • 24TrossardSubstituted forMeunierat 75’minutes
  • 7De BruyneSubstituted forVanakenat 90+1’minutes
  • 6Witsel
  • 22Chadli
  • 25DokuSubstituted forBatshuayiat 76’minutes
  • 10E Hazard
  • 9LukakuSubstituted forBentekeat 84’minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Vertonghen
  • 8Tielemans
  • 11Carrasco
  • 12Mignolet
  • 13Sels
  • 14Mertens
  • 15Meunier
  • 17Vanaken
  • 19Dendoncker
  • 20Benteke
  • 23Batshuayi
  • 26Praet
Referee:
Dr. Felix Brych
Attendance:
18,545

Live Text

Post update

Match ends, Finland 0, Belgium 2.

Full Time

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