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Lille beckons once more for Belgium's Hazard

"I know the city very well," said Belgium's round-of-16 star man Eden Hazard, victory against Hungary having earned him a return to the place where he made his breakthrough, Lille.

Eden Hazard celebrates victory with the Belgium fans
Eden Hazard celebrates victory with the Belgium fans ©AFP/Getty Images

Belgium produced the biggest win of UEFA EURO 2016 in beating Hungary 4-0 to reach the quarter-finals and the deserved man of the match was Eden Hazard – who had a special motivation to get through to face Wales in Lille.

The Red Devils played fast and furious attacking football from the start in Toulouse, and the captain, together with Kevin De Bruyne, was the engine. Nerves were still jangling, though, at 1-0 until Hazard set up Michy Batshuayi to make it 2-0 with the substitute's first touch with 12 minutes left. The No10 then scored the third himself, evading three Hungarian defenders before bending a shot around Gábor Király.

"It was great but it was about the team performance," Hazard said of Sunday's last-16 triumph. "As a team I feel we were really solid today. We made a lot of chances and didn't give them too many, so that's good. We scored four times, it was a wonderful night."

Hazard delight at Belgium display
Hazard delight at Belgium display

To make things even better for the 25-year-old attacker, on Friday they will play Wales in Lille, where Hazard launched his career. The city, just over the border with Belgium and known as Rijsel in Flemish, was where Hazard moved in 2005 to join LOSC's youth system.

A star of the 2007 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Belgium, Hazard made his senior Lille debut the same year and, subsequently named France's young player of the year twice, he took the senior individual prize in 2011 and 2012 – also helping LOSC to the domestic double in the first of those campaigns.

"We are lucky enough to play in Lille now, a city I know very well," Hazard said. "I don't know the new stadium that well – I have never played there. But I was really motivated to go through. It will be a great celebration on Friday and I hope there will be plenty of fans there to share it."

With the success comes expectation. Belgium's 'golden generation' have now reached the stage where they were eliminated at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the quarter-finals.

"We have got to the quarters, we are delighted. We will try to carry on in the same vein," Hazard said. "Wales we know very well. We played them in the qualifiers, they are a very tough team to face. But we will prepare well and try to go and win in Lille.

"For the time being we have achieved nothing," the Chelsea playmaker added. "We are just in the quarters and we will take it one game at a time. Now we will go and rest to prepare for Friday."