Kevin De Bruyne's Brace Helps Belgium Hammer Cyprus in Euro 2020 Qualifying

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2019

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne (2ndR) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualification football match between Belgium and Cyprus at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels on November 19, 2019. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)
JOHN THYS/Getty Images

Belgium made it 10 wins from 10 UEFA 2020 European Championship qualifying games on Tuesday, as they coasted to a 6-1 victory over Cyprus.

Nicholas Ioannou gave the visitors a shock lead at King Baudouin Stadium, although it was quickly cancelled out by Christian Benteke.

Belgium took control from that point on, with Kevin De Bruyne's brace extending the home side's lead, before Yannick Carrasco made it 4-1 at half time.

The visitors were the architects of their own downfall after the break, as Kypros Christoforou turned into his own net. Benteke added further gloss to the scoreline with his second of the day, before Belgium took their foot off the gas late on.

Given they have long secured their qualification for the tournament next summer, it was no shock to see Belgium boss Roberto Martinez make some changes for the fixture. Early on, some complacency crept into their game.

Ioannou was able to capitalise with a memorable moment for the visitors, as he produced a cool finish to earn a surprise lead. Sadly for him, the opening goal seemed to angered the Red Devils.

After 16 minutes the game was level, with Benteke on hand to capitalise on good work from Carrasco. Per Football Accumulators, the forward is currently enjoying a more prosperous time with his country than for his club:

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Belgium then took the game away from Cyprus with a devastating eight-minute spell, as their plethora of attacking talent started to thrive.

The first of De Bruyne's goals should have been stopped by the Cyprus 'keeper in the 36th minute, although there was nothing to be done about the second a couple of minutes later, as the Manchester City man finished emphatically after being teed up by Carrasco.

Surprisingly, it was the first time De Bruyne had netted more than one goal in a game for a long time:

Per Bet365, following an injury-ravaged 2018-19 season, the playmaker is having a much more influential campaign:

Having set up two goals in the first half, Carrasco eventually got on the scoresheet himself, heading in Eden Hazard's perfect cross a minute before the break.

For Cyprus, a difficult second half was in store and they didn't help themselves soon after the break. Christoforou tried to cut out a cross and could only turn the ball beyond his own goalkeeper in the process.

At this point, it was a feeding frenzy for the Belgian attackers and Benteke was understandably keen to add to his tally after a recent lean spell. 

The Crystal Palace striker turned in De Bruyne's cross after 68 minutes, with Kristof Terreur noting the duo's previous connection from their time together at Genk:

In the latter stages of the game, Martinez withdrew Hazard and De Bruyne, and the intensity of Belgium's play subsided.

While beating modest opposition like Cyprus doesn't represent a statement in its own right for the Red Devils, the consistency they've shown throughout this qualifying campaign further cements their status as a force to be reckoned with next summer.

What's Next?

Belgium will find out who they will face at next summer's European Championship on Saturday, November 30.

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