Belgium secured wins in all three group games at a European Championship for the first time with a battling victory that left Finland’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 in the balance, breaking a 53-yr jinx as they last beat Finland in 1968.
The world’s number-one ranked side dominated proceedings in St Petersburg but only led through a late own goal from Finland keeper Lukas Hradecky, before Romelu Lukaku drilled a second.
Finland slipped from second in Group B to third by virtue of Denmark’s 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen and they must now wait to see whether they qualify as one of the four best third-placed teams. The Danes go on to face Wales on Saturday in Amsterdam.
Also, Denmark have scored 4+ goals in a match at a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup, in a 4-1 victory vs Nigeria. Denmark set up a last-16 tie with Wales in the European Championship after an emphatic victory over Russia on a frantic night in Copenhagen.
Knowing they needed to win and hope Belgium beat Finland, the hosts did not hold back and there were passionate scenes of celebration in Denmark.
Mikkel Damsgaard set the stage alight with an exquisite long-range opener, while Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen also scored with a stunning strike.
Denmark finish second in the group. The result also means Russia, who started the night in second place, finish bottom of the table and will not qualify.
Yussuf Poulsen had put Denmark 2-0 up, pouncing on a poor backpass from Roman Zobnin before Artem Dzyuba got one back for Russia from the penalty spot.
But Denmark confirmed their progression to the knockout stages when Christensen and Joakim Maehle made it 4-1 in a rampant three minutes.