A history lesson
Nineteen years ago, Wilmots, now the Belgium manager but at the time a Schalke player, scored against Kiraly, the Hungary goalkeeper then and still first choice now but at the time also with Hertha Berlin.
Hungary: Kiraly; Lang, Juhasz, Guzmics, Kádár; Gera; Lovrencsics, Kleinheisler, Nagy, Dzsudzsák; Szalai.
Belgium: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Witsel, Nainggolan; De Bruyne, Mertens, Hazard; R Lukaku.
Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)
Hello. Few would have expected Hungary to reach this stage at the outset – and definitely not as group winners. But here they are, with 37-year-old Zoltan Gera in midfield and 40-year-old Gabor Kiraly in goal. Bernd Storck’s team are an illustration of the theme of the group stages: how a united side can outperform a more talented outfit. They followed up that opening, decisive win against Austria with a late equaliser against Iceland and a topsy-turvy 3-3 with Portugal. Reaching the last 16 means this tournament will have been a success. But can they go one further? Can they produce another evening of Magyar Magic?
There can be no doubt Belgium’s squad contains far more individual brilliance. Yet Marc Wilmots’ team still do not appear completely together. They were excellent in the second half against the Republic of Ireland having started with a shocker against Italy. Against Sweden, they needed a late(-ish by the tournament’s standard) goal to win. Is there more to come? Or are they disconnected to the extent that we will not see them reach their true potential in this tournament?
So many questions. Two hours from now, we should have some answers.
Kick-off is at 9pm in Toulouse, which is 8pm BST. Team news if to follow imminently.