Belgium edged to a 2-0 win over Finland that secured their status as winners of Euro 2020 Group B.
And heartbreakingly for Finland, they are now unlikely to progress to the last 16 due to Denmark’s superior goal difference.
It was far from a pretty game in St Petersburg as both sides settled into a rhythm early on that screamed ‘a draw suits both sides’.
But Belgium’s superior quality began to shine through as the game wore on, and they found themselves in front deep in the second half when Thomas Vermaelen’s header cannoned off the post and in off the despairing Lukas Hradecky.
As news of Denmark’s rampant lead over Russia began to spill through, Finland knew they needed something from the game to finish second and secure qualification. So when Lukaku turned in the box and fired in a wonderful low strike, they knew it was lights out for their Euro 2020 campaign.
The result means that Finland, Denmark and Russia all finish on three points, and since the three-way head-to-head is level, the Danes superior goal difference sends them through.
Belgium, meanwhile? They’ve taken nine points from nine, and look in very good shape.
Here are your player ratings from a dramatic night in Group C.
Lukas Hradecky (GK) – 6/10 – A few strong saves in the first half as he was kept fairly busy by a potent Belgium attack. Great stop to deny Jeremy Doku and absolutely nothing he could do about the OG – so unlucky.
Joona Toivio (CB) – 7/10 – Defended valiantly on the right of the back three and won most of his individual battles.
Paulus Arajuuri (CB) – 8/10 – Nearly found himself on the wrong end of an own goal early on but largely managed the game well enough and headed everything that came his way into touch.
Daniel O’Shaughnessy (CB) – 6/10 – I’ve checked and yes, he is actually Finnish.
Jukka Raitala (RWB) – 6/10 – Kept Hazard quiet enough early on. Struggled after Jeremy Doku was moved out to the left flank but recovered to enjoy a decent game.
Robin Lod (CM) – 4/10 – Wasn’t able to get much time on the ball and seemed to give it away as often as he found his man.
Tim Sparv (CM) – 6/10 – Held things together at the base of midfield and did a lot of shouting. Brought off late on as his legs began to go.
Glen Kamara (CM) – 6/10 – Commentators: it’s pronounced Ka-MAH-ra. Not Camera. Ffs.
Jere Uronen (LWB) – 5/10 – Ran the channels well but struggled defensively until he was replaced for the final 20 minutes.
Joel Pohjanpalo (CF) – 3/10 – Literally did nothing. Not a thing. Subbed with 20 to go.
Teemu Pukki (CF) – 5/10 – Often had to drop deep to get a touch of the ball thanks to Finland’s perilously low block. Didn’t do much on the rare occasion it found him.
Rasmus Schuller (Sparv, 59) – 6/10
Nikolai Alho (Pohjanpalo, 70) – 6/10
Joni Kauko (Uronen, 70) – 6/10
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 6/10 – Probably wishes he’d brought his slippers with him.
Jason Denayer (CB) – 7/10 – Strolled it for the most part.
Dedryck Boyata (CB) – 8/10 – Immense performance as he frequently stepped out to win the ball and slam the door in the face of Finland’s rare ventures forward.
Thomas Vermaelen (CB) – 6/10 – Didn’t have much actual defending to do, but never gave the ball away despite attempting a number of ambitious long-range passes. Celebrated the goal as if it was his own and it may as well have been.
Leandro Trossard (RWB) – 6/10 – The Brighton man gave a decent account of himself but good lord, he is not a wing-back.
Axel Witsel (CM) – 7/10 – What Witsel actually does is a bit of a mystery, but he seems to be a very important part of the Belgian side.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 8/10 – Belgium’s quarter-back created several chances from nothing on his return to the starting XI. Because he’s Kevin De Bruyne, and that’s what he does.
Nacer Chadli (LWB) – 6/10 – Looks a more natural fit for the wing-back role than Trossard, but his crossing needs work.
Jeremy Doku (RW) – 7/10 – Fluidly switched positions with Hazard on the flanks and his quick feet caused problems for both Finland wing-backs. Nearly had his third international goal in the first half.
Romelu Lukaku (CF) – 8/10 – Made his presence felt with some dangerous runs in behind early on, and steadily grew into the game to deliver a fearsome performance. Thoroughly deserved his third of the tournament.
Eden Hazard (LW) – 5/10 – Will he ever be match-fit again?
Thomas Meunier (Trossard, 74) – 5/10
Michy Batshuayi (Doku, 74) – 5/10
Christian Benteke (Lukaku, 84) – N/A