The imperious Kevin De Bruyne was introduced from the bench at half-time and transformed the game, scoring the winner after registering an assist as Belgium came from behind to beat Denmark to progress to the last-16 on an emotionally-charged night in Copenhagen.
Yussuf Poulson scored the second-quickest goal in European Championships history to give Denmark the lead with just 99 seconds on the clock after Jason Denayer - one of two changes in Belgium's starting XI - gave the ball away with a loose pass out of defence.
In a poignant moment, Belgium kicked the ball out of play in the 10th minute in tribute to Christian Eriksen - who had to be resuscitated on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest in the first half of the 1-0 defeat to Finland on Saturday - with the entire stadium filling the air with loud applause.
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Roared on by 25,000 Danish supporters, Kasper Hjulmand's side played with real intensity, creating a host of chances in the first half but unable to build on their narrow lead.
De Bruyne was introduced at the interval, making his first appearance since fracturing his nose and eye socket in the Champions League final, and he made an immediate impact, setting up Thorgan Hazard for the equaliser nine minutes after the restart following good work by Romelu Lukaku.
With the momentum now behind them, Roberto Martinez brought on Eden Hazard and he too registered an assist, teeing up De Bruyne for the winner some 15 minutes later when the Manchester City star lashed a sublime shot home from 25 yards beating Kasper Schmeichel at his near post.
Martin Braithwaite agonisingly struck the woodwork with a superb header for Denmark in the late stages as they rallied, but that's as close as they came to an equaliser. Despite the fact they're pointless after two games, their exit is not yet certain. But after all they've been through, the nation of Denmark can hold their heads held high whatever their destiny.
Having comprehensively beaten Russia 3-0 in the opening game of Group B, Belgium now have six points and are just the second team to claim their place in the knockout stages.

Thorgan Hazard (Belgium) against Denmark / Euro 2020

Image credit: Getty Images

TALKING POINT - De Bruyne's masterclass downs brave Denmark

After the traumatic events of last Saturday, no one could have predicted the state of minds in the Denmark ranks. But it was very clearly from the first whistle that they were fully focused on the task at hand. In fact, they had an extra spring in their step as their high-pressing forced an early mistake in the Belgium defence.
However, it was always going to be difficult for Denmark to maintain such a high tempo and when De Bruyne was introduced, Belgium's quality would tell. Their belief was tangible when the Manchester City forward stepped on the pitch and he duly produced the goods.
The 27-year-old hadn't looked quite himself during the Champions League final defeat to Chelsea, but he was back to his brilliant best tonight and such a top-level performance bodes well for Belgium's chances in the competition. The rest may have done him the world of good.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)

There has been a concern about Belgium's defence for some time now and it looked rather vulnerable in the first-half, but when you can boast a forward line of Lukaku and De Bruyne, you will be a test for any side. The pair forged an almost telepathic partnership and the latter was in particularly devastating form in Copenhagen, ending any doubts about his fitness.

PLAYER RATINGS

Belgium: Courtois 6, Alderweireld 5, Denayer 5, Vertonghen 5, Meunier 6, Dendoncker 6, Tielemans 6, Thorgan Hazard 7, Mertens 4, Carrasco 6, Lukaku 8.. subs: Vermaelen N/A, Witsel 6, De Bruyne 9, Eden Hazard 6.
Denmark: Schmeichel 6, Wass 6, Christensen 6, Kjaer 7, Vestergaard 6, Maehle 7, Damsgaard 7, Hojbjerg 6, Delaney 6, Poulsen 7, Braithwaite 7.. subs: Skov Olsen N/A, Norgaard 5, Stryger Larsen 5, Cornelius 5, Jensen 5.

KEY MOMENTS

2' - GOAL! Denmark 1-0 Belgium (Yussuf Poulsen): The stadium erupts as Denmark take the lead - and there's not even two minutes on the clock! Denayer - one of two changes in Belgium's XI - plays a loose ball straight out of defence. He's dragged out of position as Hojbjerg threads it through to Poulson, who finds the bottom corner.
5' - Another chance for Denmark! Belgium's defence is in total disarray as Maehle drives into the penalty area after riding a challenge, Braithwaite is unmarked and he should pass, but instead opts for the shot from point-blank range and Courtois makes the save!
54' - GOAL! Denmark 1-1 Belgium (Thorgan Hazard): Belgium equalise with their first moment of quality this evening! After spinning his marker, Lukaku feeds De Bruyne inside the box, the Manchester City playmaker takes an excellent touch before rolling it to Thorgan Hazard in space and he makes no mistake from point-blank range.
70' - GOAL! Denmark 1-2 Belgium (Kevin De Bruyne): A beautiful finish from De Bruyne as Belgium come from behind to take the lead in Copenhagen! Roberto Martinez's side have been totally transformed by the Manchester City star and now he has the goal his performance deserves. It's amazing movement from Lukaku as Belgium play intricate one-touch football around the Denmark penalty area and De Bruyne smashes the ball past the goalkeeper at his near post from 25 yards left of the area.
87' - Off the crossbar! Agonising for Denmark as Braithwaite somehow directs a difficult header at goal and he can only watch on as it crashes off the top of the bar with Courtois seemingly beaten.

KEY STATS

  • Denmark have had two of the three instances of a team attempting 20+ shots in a game at EURO 2020 (also Italy v Turkey), however they have lost both games and only scored one goal in the process.
  • Since the 2014 World Cup, Eden Hazard has made more assists than any other European player in major international tournaments (9); Hazard also joins Kevin De Bruyne as the only two Europeans to assist a goal in each of the last four major tournaments.
  • Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne are the first pair of substitutes to both assist in a European Championship match for the same side since Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben for the Netherlands (v France) in 2008.
  • Kevin De Bruyne is the only European player to have assisted a goal in each of the last four major tournaments (World Cup and Euros), doing so in the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 editions.
  • Kevin De Bruyne has made eight assists for Belgium in major tournaments (World Cup and Euros); since the 2014 World Cup, no European player has made more across the two competitions.
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