Belgium pulls away from Hungary, reaches Euro 2016 quarterfinals
Belgium entered Euro 2016 as the highest-ranked team in the field, and after sputtering in an opening loss to Italy, it's righted the ship and has earned a place in the quarterfinals.
Toby Alderweireld scored early, while Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco all scored late to help the Red Devils pull away in a 4-0 rout of Hungary.
Gabor Kiraly had done well to keep Belgium at bay, and Hungary carved out a number of chances while only trailing 1-0, but Belgium proved too much in the final quarter hour and moves on to the final eight.
Kevin De Bruyne served up a perfect free kick for Belgium to open the scoring in the 10th minute. His curling ball found Alderweireld wide open some eight yards out, and he headed by Kiraly to make it 1-0.
After being denied repeatedly by Kiraly, with De Bruyne especially being spurned in the final third, Belgium blew the game open late.
First, Batshuayi scored with his first touch of the game after coming on for Romelu Lukaku, as he was left unmarked and set up by Hazard for the redirect that made it 2-0 in the 78th minute.
Hazard got a long-awaited goal two minutes later, capping a breakneck counterattack with an expert finish to make it 3-0.
Carrasco put an exclamation point on the victory in stoppage time, with a finish off breakaway to net Belgium's fourth.
One piece of bad news for Belgium is that starting center back Thomas Vermaelen picked up a yellow card that will prevent him from being eligible for the quarterfinals, which will be against Gareth Bale and Wales. The two sides were in the same Euro 2016 qualifying group, with Wales winning one of their games 1-0 and the other ending in a scoreless draw.
For up-to-the-minute Euro 2016 standings, schedules and statistics, go to our tournament home.