Off The Reserve Bench, Super-Sub Kevin De Bruyne Lifts Belgium 2-1 Into Second Round

June 17, (THEWILL)- The difference a player of the quality of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne makes to the output of the Belgian team was in stark relief on Thursday at the Euros competition. Still on a recovery trajectory post-surgery, the super-substitute provided an assist and then netted the winning goal.

This herculean contribution meant that Belgium was able to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 Group B win, and, by so doing, booked their place in the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 as a consequence of their first and second matches in the continental competition.

In a game that took off encouragingly for the Danes after they took the lead with the second-fastest goal in EURO finals history, it was looking up to be their day. At just the 39th second mark, a slip-up in the Belgian defence invited Pierre-Emile Højbjerg to feed the ball to Yussuf Poulsen.

The RB Leipzig centre-forward drove a low finish into the net before some players on either side had the opportunity to even have a tap of the game ball. It was indeed a goal for the history books and the quickest that the Danish football team had ever scored

As a mark of solidarity, there was a moment’s applause observed after ten minutes for Denmark’s Christian Eriksen. The midfielder continues to recover in the hospital after a medical emergency during Denmark’s opening game against Finland. The tempo of the game was however unaffected as the Danes contained Belgium and had nine attempts on goal to the lone Belgian attempt in all of the first period.

All that was to change in the second half.

Kevin De Bruyne was introduced after the interval and illustrated his importance after only 10 minutes. The 55th minute leveller was a demonstration of pace as Romelu Lukaku found De Bruyne with a forward pass and the English Premier League’s best player of the 2020/2021 season wasted no time to thread the ball through for Thorgan Hazard to equalise.

If that was excellent contribution on De Bruyne’s part, what followed was brilliant for the win. The inspiring midfielder gave Belgium all the points and a goal of his own with a typical powerful low finish that was at the end of another dazzling team move by the Belgian players.

There were opportunities for the Danes to avoid a loss as they did not buckle after going behind. However chances to score for Martin Braithwaite, who could only head on to the crossbar in the closing stages, and substitute Mathias Jensen, who hit a powerful shot just over, did not help their cause.

It ended in defeat for Denmark leaving them with no points after two Group B games and tethering on the brink of an exit as early as their opening goal on the day.