Euro 2020: Portugal vs Belgium… A game of huge significance - Preview of the quarter-finals tie between defending champions and favourites
|Cristiano Ronaldo leads the race for the tournament golden boot, will he score against Belgium? (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Italy were made to work for their quarter final ticket, now they know it’s no longer mincemeat, the attention of everyone must be on the Estadio De La Cartuja, Belgium up against the defending champions, where will you pitch your tent?
It’s time for Belgium to prove they’re not a spent force, the form of Eden Hazard has been of huge concern and the fact they’re so thin at the back, heading into the competition with just five recognized defenders, the time is probably right for them to show why they’re world number one.
Portugal are the defending champions, beating France to the title in 2016 but many didn’t see them as a deserving champion, they went all out at the newly formed Euro Nations’ League and landed it as well, not by playing the best football but by doing the right basics, who will question them?
They huffed and puffed at the last World Cup, crashing out from the second round against Russia and again drawing conversations around their real mettle, no many see them as the real deal, here’s an opportunity to prove them wrong.
For everyone that doubts Portugal, there’s a pointer, in a group that had France, Germany and Hungary, Portugal only picked maximum points against Hungary, lost to Germany emphatically and needed two penalties to earn a draw against France, that counts for something.
Man for man, Belgium and Portugal aren’t too far from each other but the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo will always be the difference; Kevin De Bruyne is back to fitness and he can dictate play, Axel Witsel will start and that should help but how will Portugal line up?
Portugal will make a decision between Bruno Fernandes and Renato Sanches, the former Swansea midfielder gave Ngolo Kante a good run for his money in the final group game while Fernandes has struggled for gas, defensively it will be a Portuguese game, but what will Belgium offer offensively?
Up front Romelu Lukaku is the man to watch for Belgium, he’s on form and always ready to go, Portugal will be cautious and will always have a penalty in them, Belgium must be careful.
History doesn’t favor the Belgians, only a point to talk about in last four meetings, losing three times to Portugal, they have a chance to make it right and earn a ticket to the quarter finals. The time is now for both sides.