Belgium’s Thorgen Hazard steps out of brother’s shadow

Belgium goal hero Thorgen Hazard came out from under the shadow of brother Eden with the winner against Portugal in Seville on Sunday, ensuring his team a place in the European Championship quarter-finals.

The Bundesliga-based winger took aim from outside the penalty area with a rasping shot, that swung left and then right through the air, before crashing into the net to ensure Belgium’s progress from the last-16 and the elimination of the title holders.

The first to congratulate him was elder brother Eden, the Belgian skipper, whose exploits contrasted with that of his younger sibling when he had to leave the pitch before the end of the game with a suspected muscle tear.

“I think we have to wait and see what happens with Eden,” said Thorgen, whose goal was the only one of the game.

“Judging by the number of the messages I’ve had on my mobile, I do think it’s the most important goal of my career,” said Hazard.

It was the second of the tournament for Hazard, who now has eight goals for Belgium in 38 international appearances.

“It was not easy against the European champion. It was hard in the second half, but we defended well and we qualified, that’s the most important thing.”

“It was a complicated game. Both teams were waiting for the other’s mistake. We defended very well, we were a little lucky too, we have to admit it, and Thibaut (Courtois) made some key saves when needed,” he said of his goalkeeping colleague.

“We are very happy with this qualification. We are going to rest before thinking about the next step.”

Belgium next face Italy in Munich on Friday.

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