🏆 Champions dethroned: Belgium breeze past Ronaldo's Portugal to book quarter-final spot
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🏆 Champions dethroned: Belgium breeze past Ronaldo's Portugal to book quarter-final spot

A Thorgan Hazard long-range goal was all Belgium needed to beat Portugal 1-0 and book a quarter-final place at the ongoing EURO 2020 tournament.

In a rather pragmatic first half between the two European heavyweights, it was Eden Hazard's younger brother who provided a moment of magic to separate the two sides at the break. 

The Red Devils unsurprisingly had a good opening spell of possession, but it was the Portugues who carved out an early chance in the sixth minute after some superb work from Renato Sanches in midfield, who managed to spin away from Youri Tielemans before feeding the onrushing Diogo Jota to his left.

The Liverpool man though could not find the target, dragging his shot wide of the right post.

Belgium responded in the 10th minute when Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku played a one-two near the edge of the Portugal box before the Real Madrid man fired a wild, first-time shot into the stands.

Thibaut Courtois then made a stunning save to deny Cristiano Ronaldo from a free-kick, with Palhinha heading the rebound back into the box but the danger was thwarted.

The two sides exchanged blows for the remainder of the half, but a moment of magic, from nowhere, lit up the game with a minute to the break. 

Belgium made a lightning break with Lukaku cleverly holding the ball before cutting it back, and for a minute it appeared the chance was gone as the attack broke down. 

The ball was however shuttled out to Hazard around 25 yards from goal, who composed himself before unleashing a vicious, swerving drive that beat Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead. 

Belgium suffered an injury blow two minutes into the second half as Kevin de Bruyne was forced off, clearly having been unable to recover from a first-half foul by Palhinha, and was replaced by Dries Mertens.

Ronaldo then created a perfect chance for the defending champions to equalize just before the hour mark, but Jota once again ballooned his effort over the bar from 10 yards out.

Ronaldo and company returned again a few minutes later, linking well with Sanchez before the latter lifted a cross for Joao Felix, whose downward header was easily picked by Courtois. 

The game became a heated battle as it wore on, with challenges and yellow cards flying all over the pitch. 

Courtois then made a brilliant block to deny Ruben Dias in the 83rd minute, after the Man City defender rose highest to let go a bullet header from a corner ball.  

Two minutes later, Rafa Guerreiro hit the base of the right post with a low shot from the edge of the box, as Belgium managed to survive. 

Despite their efforts, Portugal could not find a way past a disciplined Belgium defense that held on for the win. 

Belgium will now face Italy in the quarter-finals. 

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  • 7, Oct - 6:45pm
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