EURO 2024: France 1-0 Belgium – Drab Round-of-16 Clash Settled By Second-Half Own Goal

France Beat Belgium
France Beat Belgium

Familiar foes France and Belgium lined up for the most-anticipated game of the Round of 16 of the 2024 European Championship (EURO 2024) on Monday, July 1. Neither team managed to live up to expectations at Dusseldorf Arena, with a second-half own goal pushing Les Bleus into the quarter-finals.

France & Belgium Play Out A Scrappy Game

From Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann to Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, the Round-of-16 clash between France and Belgium had no shortage of top talents. Unfortunately for viewers, it simply did not click for either team.

France’s Griezmann lodged the first shot on target on Monday, but his tame effort never looked like beating the goalkeeper from outside the box. Belgium, meanwhile, only had a few wayward shots to show for their efforts. They ended the first half without drawing a single save out of France goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

France started the second half with much more vigor and came close to scoring in the 49th minute. Midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni let fly from outside the box, which, aided by a deflection, drew a fingertip save out of Belgian goalkeeper Koen Casteels. In the 54th minute, Mbappe created an excellent goalscoring opportunity, as he cut in from the left flank and fired toward the goal. However, his shot had too much power and sailed well over the crossbar.

The Real Madrid forward had another goalscoring opportunity in the 78th minute when Jules Kounde found him inside the box. Much to France fans’ dismay, Mbappe failed to keep his effort on target. A few minutes later, De Bruyne had the opportunity to score the opener, but Maignan was equal to his powerful effort.

The deadlock finally broke in the 85th minute, thanks to a meaty deflection from Jan Vertonghen. Randal Kolo Muani’s scuffed effort clattered against the center-back’s knee and nestled into the back of the net. Belgium pushed hard to mount a comeback, but they did not have enough left in the tank.

Jules Kounde Won Man of the Match Award In EURO 2024 Round of 16

In a match lacking spark, right-back Kounde delivered a performance to remember. He was solid against Jermey Doku down the right, participated in France’s build-up, and created the most opportunities (5) in the game. Over the course of the game, he completed 56 of 63 passes, delivered three accurate crosses, won three tackles, and came out on top in five duels.

Thanks to his heroic display, the Barcelona man took home the prestigious UEFA EURO 2024 Player of the Match award.

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