Euro 2024: Vertonghen’s own goal condemns Belgium. Deschamps’ France flies to the quarter-finals


By John

France-Belgium 1-0
NET: 40’st Vertonghen (aut).
FRANCE (4-3-1-2): Maignan 6; Kounde 6.5, Upamecano 6, Saliba 6, Hernandez 6.5; Kantè 7, Tchouameni 7, Rabiot 6; Griezmann 6; Mbappe 6, Thuram 5.5 (62’st Kolo Muani 7). On the bench: Areola, Samba, Barcola, Camavinga, Clauss, Dembelé, Fofana, Coman, Giroud, Konate, Mendy, Pavard, Zaire-Emery. Coach: Deschamps 6.
BELGIUM (4-4-2): Casteels 6; Castagne 5.5 (43’st De Ketelaere sv), Faes 6, Vertonghen 5, Theate 5.5; Carrasco 5.5 (43’t Lukebakio sv), Onana 6, De Bruyne 6.5, Doku 7; Openda 5.5 (18’st Mangala 6), Lukaku 5.5. On the bench: Sels, Kaminski, Bakayoko, Debast, De Cuyper, Tielemans, Trossard, Vermeeren, Vranckx, Witsel. Coach: Tedesco 6.
REFEREE: Nyberg (Sweden) 5.
NOTE: clear afternoon, pitch in excellent condition, approximately 46,000 spectators present. Yellow cards: Tchouameni, Griezmann, Rabiot, Vertonghen, Tedesco (all), Mangala. Corners: 5-2 for France. Injury time: 1′ pt, 3′ sf.

Once again, an own goal is enough Didier Deschamps’s Bleus, who beat Belgium 1-0 and they get the pass to the quarter-finals of Euro 2024. The decisive goal was Vertonghen’s own goal, a snapshot of the elimination of the Red Devils in the face of a France that was present but not so precise. The initial phase of the match in which the ball seems to be in the hands of the transalpine team, but without managing to create any particular goal-scoring opportunities. The first flash instead comes from Belgium, with De Bruyne’s free kick that, deflected by a French player, forces Maignan to save with his feet. The Bleus respond, with Thuram who – freed in the area by Kounde’s cross – heads but just misses the target. Few other emotions in a first half with many technical errors on both sides, something that is not repeated at the start of the second half, when in the 49th minute Tchouameni unleashes a right-footed shot from distance that forces Casteels to dive. Belgium increasingly collected and France who bring many men into the opponent’s half but without improving the quality of their offensive production.

In the 71st minute, Tedesco’s team made themselves seen in attack, with Lukaku breaking free on the left and shooting low to the cross, but Maignan saved. The result was not unlocked in Dusseldorf, with France still making themselves seen with two poisonous but wide shots from Saliba first and then Mbappe. In the 83rd minute, Belgium sent out a signal, with Doku’s percussion favoring De Bruyne’s strong but central shot, well defused by Maignan. The match seemed to be heading for extra time, but five minutes from the ninetieth, Kolo Muani found the winning spark, at the end of a maneuvered action by the transalpines that ended with the PSG striker’s shot not irresistible but made the winner due to the fatal deflection by Vertonghen that definitively put Casteels out of the game. It’s the former Tottenham player’s own goal that condemns Belgium and send France to the quarter-finals: Deschamps’ men will now meet the winner of Portugal or Slovenia