Euro 2020: Belgium Defeat Defending Champions Portugal

Belgium knocked defending champions Portugal out of Euro 2020 with a 1-0 victory in the last 16 on Sunday to set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal tie against Italy.

Borussia Dortmund winger Thorgan Hazard scored with a 43rd-minute strike to secure the win for Roberto Martinez’s team, who survived plenty of pressure from the Portuguese in the second half.

Belgium were among the pre-tournament favourites but this was a stodgy and uninspired display and they will need to raise their game significantly if they are to get past Roberto Mancini‘s Azzurri who are unbeaten in 31 matches.

Hazard’s fine goal was their only effort on target in the whole 90 minutes and there was little invention or flair from their midfield.

The lose brings an end to Portugal’s reign who had triumphed in Paris five years ago. They will look back on key Diogo Jota chances, a Ruben Dias header that was saved and a late Raphael Guerreiro drive that struck the post.

Ronaldo bows out with five goals from four games, and is currently the tournament’s top scorer. Yet it remains to be seen if the 36-year-old will return for a sixth Euros in Germany in 2024 or if the competition’s all-time top scorer will bow out of national team duty after the Qatar World Cup next year.

 

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