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Belgium reach women’s football Euro quarter-finals for first time
Belgium beat Italy 0-1 on Monday evening to snatch a historic qualification for the Women’s Euro 2022 quarter-finals.
The tight contest was played under a torrid 30°C heat at Manchester City stadium. Despite being the most threatening side, Belgium’s Red Flames failed in the first half to convert any of the opportunities they created.
Pressure was on as a 0-0 draw would result in both being eliminated, regardless of the result between Iceland and France in the other match playing that evening.
Early in the second half, as the sun began to set behind the Ethiad stadium, Belgian Tine De Caigny took advantage of a brief space after Italy failed to clear a free kick. The midfielder accurately drilled the ball low into the bottom of the goal.
Italy revved up their attack, badgering the Belgian defence and goalkeeper Nicky Evrard, who successfully diverted several threatening balls. On a counterattack, Belgium’s forward Tessa Wullaert came close to a second goal in the 91st minute, striking the Italian right goalpost.
After the whistle blew, the Red Flames let off steam in long celebrations to the sound of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me know.
In only their second European championships, the team now face Sweden in the last-eight tie on Friday.
Photo: © Belga/David Catry