Belgium’s Red Flames make it to Euros quarter-finals for first time in history
While Nafissatou Thiam was winning her second World Title on the other side of the Atlantic, Belgium’s Red Flames also made Belgian sporting history by reaching the Women’s Euros’ quarter-finals.
Following their 2-1 defeat against France, the Red Flames’ chances of reaching their first-ever knockout round in a major tournament appeared to be hanging by a thread. However, there was still a chance if they beat Italy on Monday and bettered Iceland’s performance against France. And, just as the Red Devils’ coach Roberto Martinez predicted, they ended up beating Italy 1-0 to clinch their place in the quarter-finals.
Following a relatively quiet first half, Belgium’s midfielder Tine De Caigny scored with her right foot in the 49th minute to break the deadlock. This elicited an immediate reaction with the Italians launching an onslaught on Belgium’s goalkeeper Nicky Evrard. But the Red Flames were able to hold on to their advantage and overcome the Italians.
However, Belgium still needed France to beat Iceland to advance to the quarter-finals. And, despite a last-minute equaliser by the Icelandics to end the game 1-1, Belgium finished second in the group with 4 points, closely followed by Iceland with 3 points.
The focus is now on the Red Flames’ quarter-final tie against Sweden, which is taking place on Friday, with the winner facing either England or Spain in the semi-finals.
© BELGA PHOTO DAVID CATRY - Belgium's Tessa Wullaert pictured in action during a game between Belgium's national women's soccer team the Red Flames and Italy, in Manchester, England on Monday 18 July 2022, third and final game in the group D at the Women's Euro 2022 tournament. The 2022 UEFA European Women's Football Championship is taking place from 6 to 31 July.