Euro 2016: Belgium 1-0 Sweden - Player ratings
A late goal from Radja Nainggolan sealed the fates of not only Belgium and Sweden but that also of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a pulsating Group E encouter. The midfielder’s thunderous strike helped the Red Devils book a place in the final 16, where they will now face Hungary, whilst for the Swedish talisman, that strike scripted his swansong from the international scene.
The Swedes were punished for not taking a gilt-edged opportunity at the beginning of the game as Ibrahimovic tried in vain to lead the Swedes to a victory. Both sets of fans were left disappointed at Allianz Riviera as goals from Ibrahimovic and Romelu Luka Ku ruled out, before the Roma midfielder’s strike proved to be decisive.
Here is an analysis on how each player fared on the day.
Thibaut Courtois – 8/10
Whilst the Chelsea man had a largely untroubled game, he was there when called upon. His denial of Marcus Berg from an early opener changed the complexion of the game as an early goal would have surely spurred the Swedes on.
Thomas Meunier – 7.5/10
After replacing Laurent Cyman, the defender from Club Brugge in the space of two games has made the spot his own. Meunier was an ever present in this game, influencing the game with his forays forward as well as his defending.
Toby Alderweireld - 6/10
The Spurs man didn’t enjoy the best of days in office and was found wanting on a couple of occasions. However, thankfully, he didn’t have to pay dearly for his mistakes.
Thomas Vermaelen – 7/10
The Barcelona didn’t show any signs of rustiness at all though only playing a handful of games for the Catalans last season. Vermaelen was astute in his defensive responsibilities and confident in his challenges.
Jan Vertonghen – 7.5/10
Verthongen continues to impress with his versatility. Not only has he adapted well to the situation but has been resounding in his performances at the left side of the defence. His ability to put in a timely cross and look for the runs of Lukaku also helps him get rave reviews.
Alex Witsel – 6/10
Witsel seems to be spurred on by the goal he scored in the last match and was always willing to join the adventures going forward even if it meant exposing themselves in the middle. He was also caught in possession a couple of times.
Radja Nainggolan – 8/10
His thunderous strike at the end sealed the fate of the game. He vindicated Marc Wilmot’s faith in selecting him over Mousa Dembele and besides the goal, provided the Red Devils with energy at the centre of the park.
Kevin de Bruyne – 8.5/10
The Manchester City star was at the centre of everything good that emanated from the Belgium side. His lung bursting runs along with his precise passes and viciously whipped crosses reminded us why he is so highly rated.
Yannick Carrasco – 6.5/10
The Atletico Madrid again provided pace on the right. However, there was no moment in the game where he really stood out.
Eden Hazard 7.5/10
The Belgian captain seems to have his mojo back in a game that was quite similar to a Premier League encounter. Hazard was a bundle of energy who helped provide Marc Wilmots’s side with pace and trickery on the left. It was in fact, his cross that led to Radja Naingollan’s winner.
Romelu Lukaku – 6.5/10
Whilst he impressed with his ability to hold the ball up and runs beyond the backline. However, he again seemed to be a step behind with his instincts and when he did get a sight on goal, an inspired Isaksson and the offside rule were there to thwart him.
Dries Mertens – 7/10
The Napoli winger impressed in his little cameo and would have Wilmots thinking of giving him the full ninety-minutes next time around.
Christain Benteke – 6/10
Could have put the icing on the cake late on. ut his connect on a cut back was stopped by Andreas Isaksson’s niftiness.
Divock Origi – N/A
Had hardly any time to influence the game,