Euro 2021 first round of the knock-out stage continues today with a mouthwatering clash between two favorites, Portugal and Belgium at the La Cartuja Stadium in Sevilla.
It is a pity that one of these teams will have to leave the tournament tonight. Some of the biggest players of the European football will feature in this exciting game. Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Dias and Bruno Fernandez on one side and Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard on the other side, this time has everything a football fan dreams of.
Portugal is the defending champion, having won the tournament back in 2016. Belgium had a wonderful 2018 World Cup in which they won the Bronze medal.Belgium
is slightly the favorite in this game since they have won all their games so far. However, Portugal will fancy their chances for upsetting the Red Devils and take a huge step toward their quest for the second title in a row. Surprisingly, the two teams have never met in a major international competition before.
Belgium has been on a good form since reaching the third place at the 2018 World Cup. They have one of the best generations of their history and it is a good chances for them to win a major international tournament. Portugal have also been experiencing a very successful spell. They won the 2016 European Championships and the first edition of Europa League of nations. However, they were poor in the 2018 World Cup and it is their chance to make amends and reach the latter stages of Euro 2020.
The two teams have had a different path to the knock out stage. Belgium were drawn in a relatively easy group alongside Wales, Finland and Denmark. Roberto Martinez players won all their games, conceded only once and scored 7 goals.Portugal
had to lock horns with three strong teams as they were drawn in the group death of Euro 2020 alongside France, Germany and Hungary. They won against Hungary, lost to Germany and drew with France, making their way into the last 16 as one of the best third teams of the group stage.
Belgium is one of the favorite that are performing up to the expectations. Alongside Italy and Netherlands, they are one of the three side with a hundred percent record. They won all of their group games against Russia (3-0), Denmark (2-1) and Finland (2-0).
has shown he has recovered from the heavy injury he suffered from at the Champions League final against Chelsea. He was back into the line-up at the second game against Denmark and turned the game on his head with an unbelievable assist and a super goal. Real Madrid's under fire winger, Eden Hazard is looking to get more into shape and the game against Portugal is his best chance to remind everyone of what he can do. Romelu Lukaku has also been brilliant with three goals and is trailing Ronaldo for the top scoring award.
Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez stressed the importance of the game in the pre-match press conference and believes that everything is possible in such a close tie.
We are motivated and focused. This is what we do it for. I feel a lot of excitement and energy in the group. Portugal are a team that adapts quickly to circumstances. Whether it is an open or closed match depends on what happens. Will there be an early goal?
Portugal has had a mixed campaign so far into Euro 2020. They were drawn in a very difficult group. They defeated Hungary with three goals in the last ten minutes of the game. Then was completely outclassed by Germany and lost 4-2. They put on a good fight against 2018 World Cup winners, France and qualified with a 2-2- draw.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been on his GOAT status so far, winning the award for the best player of the Euro 2020 group stage with 5 goals and 1 assist in 3 games. Moreover, he equaled Ali Daei's long standing record for most international goal with 109. His rival in Serie A, Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) has also been superb with three goals.
Manchester City'sRuben Dias
is another player who will be eager to continue his fine form from club football and help his country to a much needed win. While the game will be a good chance for Bruno Fernandez who has been facing huge criticism for his lackluster performances so far into the tournament, to show glimpse of the huge potential he has shown at Manchester United.
Portugal's coach, Fernando Santos said in the pre-match press conference that he is optimistic of his team's chances for a win against Belgium.
Belgium score goals and rarely struggle. There have some players who are more influential, but Belgium will not man-mark and nor will we. These sides are a similar class. It's a final; it's for winning, not for playing. We know we will have good opponents. I believe, hope and am convinced that we will be better.
Belgium have been unbeaten in their last ten games, having won 8 and draw 2. Their last defeat was a 2-1 loss against England back in October 2020.
Belgium possible starting lineup
; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier, De Bruyne, Witsel, T. Hazard; Carrasco, Lukaku, E. Hazard
Portugal have been unpredictable in recent months. They seem unbeatable in some of their matches and then they lose with big margins in some of their other game. Portugal is on a run of 5 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses in their last 10 games.
Portugal possible starting lineup
: Rui Patricio; Nelson Semedo, Ruben Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro; Palhinha, Renato Sanches, Joao Moutinho; Bernardo Silva, Ronaldo, Diogo Jota
The two teams have played 18 times against each other across all competitions, with Belgium winning 6 of them to Portugal's 5 win. Their first encounter was in a friendly back in 1930 where Portugal won 2-1. Their last game against each other, another friendly in 2018 ended in a 0-0 draw.
It is one of the biggest games ofEuro 2020
knock out stage and both teams will desperately want to reach the last 8, which makes it a very tense match. A draw with goals is very much possible as the two teams have some of the most creative and lethal forwards of Europe in their squads. Belgium are slightly favorites to win the game. But they will have to be on their best form as they have not been able to win any of their last 5 games against Portugal.
The famous German referee, Felix Brych will be the first referee for the game. His countrymen, Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp will be his assistants. Another German referee, Marco Fritz is appointed as the Video Assistant Referee while Georgi Kabakov of Bulgaria will be the fourth referee of the game.
Date: Friday, June 27
Kick off Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: La Cartuja Stadium, Sevilla
TV: ESPN and TUDN
Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: Belgium +150; Draw +220; Portugal +205 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
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