Belgium take on Portugal in the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 – all you need to know.
Belgium play Portugal in a UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 tie in Seville on Sunday 27 June at 21:00 CET.
What's the story?
This is arguably the tie of the round as the formidable Red Devils take on the European champions. Belgium's firepower was there for all to see in the 3-0 win over Russia and as they came from behind to beat Denmark 2-1, while they were persistent then clinical in concluding Group B with maximum points by seeing off Finland 2-0.
Belgium vs Portugal: who will reach the quarter-finals? 🤔
Portugal's journey to the last 16 was a much bumpier ride. They showed similar patience in their 3-0 win against Hungary but were surprisingly porous when beaten 4-2 by Germany. They occupied all four positions in Group F at various stages of their final group game against France with the 2-2 draw, courtesy of two goals on a landmark night for current tournament top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, enough to seal third place.
Where to watch the game on TV
Fans can find their local UEFA EURO 2020 broadcast partner(s) here.
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Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, T. Hazard; De Bruyne, Lukaku, E. Hazard
Out: Castagne (face), Chadli (illness)
Misses next match if booked: T. Hazard
Portugal: Rui Patrício; Dalot, Rúben Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro; João Moutinho, João Palhinha, Renato Sanches; Bernardo Silva, Ronaldo, Diogo Jota
Misses next match if booked: Rúben Dias
Alyssa Saliou, Belgium reporter: Although the players insist they had no preferred opponent, you can feel the tension rising among the Belgium fans. The team have not beaten Portugal since 1989, but they have proved themselves capable against big opponents in the past, eliminating Brazil 2-1 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup for example.
Witsel: 'De Bruyne has a magic wand for assists'
The return to full fitness of Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne should further boost their belief. The most important thing against Portugal will be to play compactly and to deny space to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, though they should not focus solely on the tournament's top scorer given the Seleção's extremely talented squad.
Carlos Machado, Portugal reporter: Belgium are a team that have played together for a long time, with systems similar to Germany's – 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 – so in theory life will be harder for the holders, who struggled a lot in that game against Die Mannschaft in Munich.
Fernando Santos learned from that 4-2 defeat, however, and his side were more intense in midfield when faced with N'Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba and company in midweek. It will be, like against France, a more balanced and thoughtful Portugal who will try to compete with one of the best teams at this championship. What a game it promises to be in Seville!
Watch Sanches's EURO journey
View from the camps
Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach: "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?"
Toby Alderweireld, Belgium defender: "What's the best way to stop Ronaldo? As a team. That has always been our strength. I know the media focus on Cristiano but they have so much quality. We should not underestimate Bernardo Silva – he's an incredible player – and Diogo Jota. They have a lot of guys who can score a goal out of nowhere. We certainly do not underestimate them."
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: "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."
Portugal: Who is most likely to...?
João Moutinho, Portugal midfielder: "Belgium are very compact; they showed that in the group stage, but we will try to impose our game and our strengths on them, and take advantage of any lapses. [Kevin] De Bruyne is not the only danger man, but if he has space he is even more dangerous. But if all of them get space, they will play calmly and that will make our job difficult."
In his latest column, the ex-Spain midfielder warns that La Roja should not get too far ahead of themselves after hitting five last time out, but reckons passing opponents into submission could be the way to go.
Leading into the Slovakia game, there was a bit of a negative overreaction surrounding Spain.
I said the positive for the team was that they were making chances. They just weren’t taking them. But given the number of opportunities being made, I was confident they would start to score because players of the quality of Ferran Torres, Gerard Moreno, Álvaro Morata and Dani Olmo all have the ability to score.
There was always going to be a turning point when you are creating so many chances and luckily for us it came against Slovakia. Scoring goals is great for players’ confidence, and it is fantastic to see the coach’s game plan work and get its reward – a record-equalling finals win, no less.
Spain: Who is most likely to...?
I think it’s important that we don’t get carried away and start saying Spain are favourites to win the tournament; you need to find a balance and I think Spain are slowly finding their feet in the competition.
The team will now feel more confident in what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. When it comes to playing against Croatia, you can say: "We know our philosophy works, let’s focus on ourselves and what we believe in."
In order to beat Croatia in the last 16, I’d say you need to go after them and try to outplay them. They have lots of individual quality with players who bring different things to the table.
Spain need to play at a high tempo, try to win the ball back as soon as they lose it, press Croatia and put them under pressure. We then need to play our passing game, keep the ball and make Croatia run – it is something they won't enjoy.
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