De Bruyne and Doku suffer EURO 2024 heartbreak


De Bruyne and Doku suffer EURO 2024 heartbreak

De Bruyne and Doku suffer EURO 2024 heartbreak

City duo Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku suffered EURO 2024 heartbreak as an 88th minute Jan Vertonghen own goal proved enough to earn France a 1-0 win in a hard fought last-16 encounter.

The clash at the Dusseldorf Arena brought together two genuine European heavyweights and proved a cagey but compelling affair and looked to be heading for extra time when France dramatically broke the deadlock two minutes from time.

A shot from substitute Randal Kolo Muani struck Vertonghen on the knee inside the box and wrong-footed Belgian keeper Koen Casteels to send Didier Deschamps’ side into the last eight.

It was France who had gone into the contest as favourites but Belgium, captained by De Bruyne on what was his 105th international appearance, created the early running.

De Bruyne created the game’s first meaningful chance, his 25th minute free-kick having to be scrambled clear by France keeper Mike Maignan with his feet.

Yannick Carrasco then tried his luck with a shot from just inside the box which struck Theo Hernandez.

ACTION MAN: Jeremy Doku takes the fight to France.ACTION MAN: Jeremy Doku takes the fight to France.

ACTION MAN: Jeremy Doku takes the fight to France.

There was a subsequent VAR check for a handball which adjudged there was no case for a penalty.

France though then provided a reminder of their attacking quality as they began to dominate, a superb first time cross from Jules Kouande being met by Marcus Thuram whose powerful header flashed just wide.

Some brilliance from Kylian Mbappe on the stroke of half time as he fought off the attentions of Doku on the left edge of the Belgium box set up an opening for Aurelien Tchouameni but his shot was too high.

Tchouameni was then denied by a diving block from Belgian keeper Koen Casteels almost immediately after the restart.

Mbappe’s wonderful pace and close control caused more mayhem for Belgium on 54 minutes as the striker again cut in from the left before powering a venomous shot narrowly over.

A moment of brilliance from De Bruyne’s slide rule pass on the hour then looked to have put Carrasco clear and haring in on goal but just as prepared to pull the trigger a brilliant block from Theo Hernandez averted the danger.

De Bruyne then linked up well with Amadou Onana whose superbly weighted cutback allowed Romelu Lukaku the chance to let fly from a narrow angle on the left edge of the box, Maignan punching the effort clear.

SPECIAL K: De Bruyne plots a way forward.SPECIAL K: De Bruyne plots a way forward.

SPECIAL K: De Bruyne plots a way forward.

Back came France with William Saliba the next to go close, the Arsenal defender executing a neat 75th minute on the right edge of the Belgian before pinging a powerful shot just wide.

A superb pass from Doku then set up De Bruyne for Belgium’s best chance yet with seven minutes left, the midfielder unleashing a stinging drive from 20 yards which Maignan was grateful to parry away.

And within two minutes, France struck to claim the win albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances.

Deschamps’ side broke from deep in their half and the ball was worked to Kolo Muani on the right side of the area.

He fired a shot towards goal which took a crucial deflection off Vertonghen’s leg and wrong footed Belgian keeper Casteels to send the French fans wild with delight and leave Belgium distraught..

France’s reward for victory is a quarter-final assignment against the winners of tonight’s clash between Portugal and Slovenia.

The game takes place in Hamburg on Friday, July 5, kick-off 20.00pm (BST).



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