Belgium cruised into the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 Sunday with an impressive 4-0 destruction of Hungary on goals from Toby Alderweireld, Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard and Yannick Carrasco.
In the quarters they will meet Wales, who Saturday edged Northern Ireland 1-0.
Belgium's 4-0 triumph was the best collective performance of the tournament so far. No other team has managed to score more than three, and it was inspired by the best individual display thus far from captain Hazard.
The Chelsea playmaker, who is finally fulfilling his rich potential at the highest level, bossed the midfield with majesty, clarity and authority and had a big hand in three of his team's goals.
When asked whether he thought he was the leading player at the tournament, Hazard modestly replied: "Tonight's win was a team performance, not an individual one.
"This win is all about the team, and not just about me. We all contributed tonight in our own ways," he said. "Of course, it was great to score a goal and set up two others, but the praise should go to everyone, not just to me."
Hazard set up the opener in the 10th minute with an exquisite free-kick, that was headed in by defender Alderweireld.
Hazard then set up chance after chance for the Belgians only to see them go to waste, while Hungary finally came out of their defensive shell and occasionally threatened to equalize.
However, Hazard killed off Hungary's faint hopes 12 minutes from time with a perfect burst and centre for the grateful Batshuayi to make it 2-0 from close range.
Hazard then crowned his imperious display with a classy goal of his own, cutting in from the left and making it 3-0 with a precise low drive.
The weary Hungarian defence completely collapsed at the end, and Carrasco completed the rout with a cool left-foot finish.
It was a sad end to Hungary's first participation in a major tournament since 1968, but coach Bernd Storck tried to put on a brave face.
"We knew we were coming up against terrific opposition tonight in the shape of Belgium," he said. "I have to congratulate the team for their performance throughout the championships. We have a positive view of the future."
Saturday, June 18, 2016 - 18:02