Belgium portugal

Euro 2020 report: Belgium Vs Portugal, The Red Devils knock the defending champions out to book their place in the quarter finals

It was the clash of two heavyweights as met in the Round of 16. This was the first time both nations were locking horns in a major tournament.

The opening few minutes were fairly equal, with both teams retaining possession in each other’s half. It only took Portugal 5 minutes to create their first clear chance, as Diogo Jota’s left-footed shot went past the keeper but also beyond the post.

 

 

A few minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo’s venomous free-kick effort was comfortably palmed away by former club teammate Courtois. Portugal appeared to be the superior team in the first 30 minutes, controlling possession and making Belgium’s defence vulnerable anytime their forwards surged ahead.

For the first 40 minutes, Belgium was attempting to gain control of the game by combining short passes and attempting to push forward as a block, but Portugal’s organised structure in the middle of the park and at the back did not allow Belgian midfielders to breathe.

Until Thorgan Hazard’s sweet finish, a swerving shot from outside the box broke the deadlock shortly before the end of the first half, throwing the momentum of the contest to The Red Devils going into the second half.

 

 

The defending champions were now under immense pressure as the ball was in Belgium’s court.

Belgium suffered a major setback in the first few minutes of the second half when Kevin De Bruyne was taken off with an apparent ankle injury. He took a hit in the first half from a rough tackle and appeared to have shaken it off, but was unable to continue in the second half and signalled to be taken off.

 

 

Portugal were trying their best to get the goal back. 10 minutes into the second half, Ronaldo demonstrated his intent by charging onto a bouncing loose ball outside the penalty area in a central position, slamming a shot towards the goal, which was bravely blocked by Vermaelen.

Portugal looked strong in the first 15 minutes of the second half and came extremely close to tying the game. Belgium avoided a scare when Diogo Jota’s poor finish inside the penalty area caused the ball to soar over the goal and into the bleachers.

 

 

Portugal grabbed control of the game and looked threatening as they surged forward, but they were unable to capitalise on the opportunities that came their way. While Belgium was counting on the counterattack, hoping to create trouble and trying to score the second goal that will put the match to bed.

With 15 minutes remaining, tempers were visibly fraying, as aggressive and powerful tackles were on display from both sides. As a thunderous header by Ruben Dias was saved by Courtois, the reigning champions were running out of time but not backing down. A minute later, Guerreiro struck a clean and beautiful first-time shot from the outside of the penalty box, only for the low drive to rattle the foot of the beaten Courtois’ left-hand post.

 

 

Portugal had aspirations after five minutes of additional time was added, but time eventually ran out, knocking the reigning champions out and sending Belgium to the quarter-finals, where they will meet Italy.

Here are the three key takeaways from the match:

 

THORGAN HAZARD STOOD OUT

Thorgan Hazard’s stunning first-half goal to break the deadlock was the biggest moment of the game, and arguably his career. Being known as ‘Eden Hazard’s brother’ plainly didn’t suit him well, so he carved out a name for himself.

 

 

His talent has been taken for granted for years since his brother’s achievements on the biggest stages have kept him in his shadow, but his heroics against Portugal today have really captured the hearts of all Belgians as well as football fans worldwide. Both the brothers had an impressive outing today, but the little brother stole the spotlight today.

 

 

PORTUGAL FAIL TO DEFEND THEIR TITLE

The defending champions are knocked out of Euro 2020, preventing them from defending their 2016 win. The Portuguese men had a plethora of chances to make things level but fate had other plans for them.

 

 

Portugal were definitely the stronger team today in terms of clear chances, but they ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. They got out to a fast start, seeking for gaps, but they were quickly on the back foot. Portugal attempted many passes to break the lines, but Belgium’s defensive persistence was enough to advance the Red Devils to the quarter-finals.

What might have been a historic night for Cristiano Ronaldo, who was one goal away from breaking the all-time international goals record, turned out to be a shambles. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the 36-year-old gave it his all, scoring 5 goals throughout the competition and being their best player today.

 

KEVIN DE BRUYNE INJURED

Belgium have suffered a significant setback as a result of Kevin De Bruyne’s injury. Manchester City’s maestro appeared locked and ready to wreak havoc after returning from an eye socket injury, but another setback has hindered the midfielder’s spectacular year on an individual level.

 

 

Belgium will now face a formidable, in-form, and tactically astute Italian team and the absence of their marksman weakens their chances of beating the Azzuris. However, The Red Devils will not back down from any challenge and will play each and every minute of every match with total determination, like they did today.

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