Belgium beat Hungary 4-0 on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals of Euro 2016. The score looks impressive, and some of their goals did too. But once again, the Red Devils failed to convince anyone that they're getting the most out of their incredible talent.
Hungary are this tournament's overachievers. More so than any of the other debutants, they were massive beneficiaries of a combination of the expanded tournament and luck. They were dropped into the qualifying group that was clearly the easiest one even before Greece collapsed, and even with Greece's collapse, they finished third. The top two teams, Romania and Northern Ireland, scored four goals in seven games between them at this tournament.
They won their group at the finals anyway, and for more than an hour on Sunday, they created better chances than Belgium. Hungary forced Thibaut Courtois into six saves, and their 16 shots are way more than they had any business generating. Fellow underdogs to better sides Northern Ireland, Ireland and Slovakia combined for 18 total shots in their three knockout stage games. Belgium is supposed to be an elite team, and Hungary is arguably the least talented team at Euro 2016. If you're an elite team, you don't let an average team get off 16 shots and make your goalkeeper bail you out on multiple occasions.
This is ultimately a massive credit to Hungary. For them to win their group then give Belgium this much trouble suggests that they're very well coached. It's a testament to their squad unity too, something Belgium has been criticized for lacking. "Hungary doesn't have a player or two who belongs among the best in the world, but has a team which I would not trade for anything," captain Balazs Dzsudzsak told press before the game. Midfielder Adam Pinter echoed the sentiment, saying "we feel we are a big family."
But as much as fans love underdog stories about well-coached underdogs with an unbreakable team spirit, the end of Sunday's game showed how much that doesn't matter if their vastly superior opponents actually play to their capabilities. Hungary were the more organized, more focused and harder working side in a game that they lost 4-0. Once Eden Hazard turned on the jets, Hungary looked helpless. They fought hard after conceding an early goal but crumbled after Belgium added a second.
Hazard's burst and Belgium's four goals answer no questions. They just get more people to ask the same ones that they were asking before this tournament started, and more emphatically. When is Belgium going to put a complete game together? Can they actually beat a top opponent?
Four games, eight goals scored and two goals conceded later, we still don't have any answers.