August 4, 2021

Belgium top group with late win, Finland third

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Finland have only a slim chance of qualifying as a best third-placed finisher after their 2-0 defeat by group winners Belgium on a dramatic final night in Euro 2020 Group B.

The defeat means Finland finish third, below Denmark in second and above Russia in fourth, with all three ending up on three points, but Finland finishing above Russia based on all three side’s records without their games against Belgium.

Lukas Hradecky was producing heroics for the first 65 minutes, denying Romelu Lukaku, Jeremy Doku and Eden Hazard twice with fantastic saves, Lukaku did score after the break, only for it to be ruled out by VAR for offside.

A draw would have sent Finland through in second place, with Denmark beating Russia, but the deadlock was broken by an unfortunate Hradecky own goal as Thomas Vermaelen’s header rattled the crossbar, hit the goalkeeper, and fell over the line (74).

In a split second, Finland went from second to fourth, and Belgium upped the ante to score a second through Lukaku’s turn and shot from just inside the box (81). But with Russia falling apart against Denmark, eventually losing 4-1, Finland scraped into third, though they have only the slightest chance of qualifying with three points and a negative goal difference.

Belgium were confirmed as Group B winners with the victory.

Full report to follow