Belgium knock holders Portugal out, meet Italy in Euro 2020 quarter-finals | Dailytrust

Belgium knock holders Portugal out, meet Italy in Euro 2020 quarter-finals

Portugal’s Renato Sanches, center, competes for the ball with Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne, right, and Belgium’s Youri Tielemans, top left, during the Euro 2020 soccer championship round of 16 match between Belgium and Portugal at La Cartuja stadium in Seville, Spain, Sunday, June 27, 2021. (Jose Manuel Vidal/Pool via AP)

A rocket from Thorgan Hazard knocked reigning champions Portugal out of Euro 2020 on Sunday and earned Belgium a blockbuster quarter-final with Italy.

Hazard’s swerving shot before half-time sealed a 1-0 win for Belgium and settled a scrappy contest in Seville that never really lived up to its billing as the stand-out tie of the last 16.

Cristiano Ronaldo tested Thibaut Courtois with a dipping free-kick in the first half but the 36-year-old neither broke the international goals record nor added to his five for the tournament.

Raphael Guerreiro went closest to a late equaliser when his shot came back off the post but Belgium were the braver, more fluid team and deservedly edged through.

They will now face Italy in Munich on Friday and possibly without Kevin De Bruyne, who hobbled off injured in the second half but returned to the pitch to join the celebrations at the end.

For all the superstar names on the pitch, it was Eden Hazard’s less heralded brother, Thorgan, who proved decisive, the Borussia Dortmund winger who Eden once said had even more talent than him.

Portugal, meanwhile, stuck to the defensive approach that served them so well in France five years ago but has perhaps been outgrown by a side that now boasts some of the most creative technicians in the world. (AFP)