Kevin De Bruyne could not wait to leave the Belgium bubble after their Nations League thrashing of Iceland so he could be reunited with his family and newborn daughter.
Manchester City playmaker De Bruyne, who was named PFA Player of the Year earlier on Tuesday, helped Belgium to a 5-1 victory in which Michy Batshuayi scored twice.
De Bruyne missed Saturday’s 2-0 win against Denmark to be at the birth of Suri, his third child with wife Michele.
De Bruyne was back on duty for his country as they made it six points from two games in Group A2, helping Belgium recover from shipping an early goal to Holmbert Fridjonsson.
Man of the match Batshuayi’s double and goals from Axel Witsel, Dries Mertens and 18-year-old Jeremy Doku allowed Belgium to cruise to an ultimately impressive win behind closed doors in Brussels.
“It was a great night for us. I am happy to be back on the pitch,” De Bruyne said, quoted on UEFA.com.
“I don’t think my newborn daughter will have seen the game tonight, but I can’t wait to be back with her and my wife and kids.”
Speaking to Belgian broadcaster RTBF, De Bruyne said Belgium were given problems by the team that lost 1-0 to England on Saturday.
“Iceland played with a compact block. It was complicated to find the solution at the start of the match,” he said.
“But that did not surprise me given the match this team played against England.
“It’s good to win two matches in these conditions because not everyone has participated in the same number of training sessions before joining the squad. I think we played well at times.”
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) September 8, 2020
Toby Alderweireld completed a century of Belgium appearances in a largely empty King Baudouin Stadium.
“A 100th game without an audience, it’s a shame,” said the Tottenham defender. “I would have liked my family to be there, but I’m happy to have reached this bar.”
Iceland head coach Erik Hamren, quoted by UEFA.com, said: “We need to face the fact that they are a better team than us. We had neither the energy nor strength to defend for each other throughout the game.”
And while his Belgium counterpart Roberto Martinez admitted the visitors made life “complicated” early on, the Spaniard added: “After this delicate moment, we managed to find a way to hurt them.”
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