Belgium needed their ‘X factor’ substitutions to save them against Denmark and book their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 after being “put to the test” for the first time in a while.
They were nowhere near their best against Denmark at Euro 2020 – but Kevin de Bruyne set up one and scored the other, changing the game in a 2-1 win.
The top-ranked side in the world were deservedly behind at the break on an emotional evening as 25,000 fans at Parken Stadium paid tribute to Christian Eriksen, who is recovering from a cardiac arrest.
De Bruyne came on at half-time and turned the game around, in his first appearance since suffering a fractured nose and eye socket in May’s Champions League final.
He set up the equaliser with a brilliant and unselfish touch to beat two defenders before laying the ball on a plate for Thorgan Hazard.
Manchester City midfielder De Bruyne then fired in an excellent winner after a nice pass from fellow star substitute Eden Hazard, Thorgan’s brother.
Real Madrid’s Hazard and De Bruyne (nine and eight assists respectively) have now set up more goals in major tournaments since 2014 than any other European players.
“Wow. I was looking for X factor and boy did Belgium deliver that,” said ex-England international Karen Carney on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The big players at the big moments stepped up. That is the difference of world class players. They have the composure and calmness.
“The second half is just a case of bringing on quality in De Bruyne – big players just make such a difference. I can’t praise the tactical, swift change from Martinez enough. That was the game of the tournament.”
Belgium booked their place in the last 16 thanks to the win, despite only having six shots to Denmark’s 21.
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