Belgium fans celebrated on the streets of Seville on Sunday (June 27) as their team knocked defending champions Portugal out of Euro 2020 with a 1-0 victory in the last 16 to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final tie against Italy.
A 43rd-minute strike from Thorgan Hazard secured the win for Roberto Martinez’s team, who survived plenty of pressure from the Portuguese in the second half.
But with the finishing touch missing, it was the end of the road for Cristiano Ronaldo and a Portugal team who had triumphed in Paris five years ago.
“It was a lot of work. But in the end we won. We won and we are going into the last eight against Italy,” said Jeremie as he left La Cartuja stadium.
“It was incredible. We are going to win the EUROs, 100 percent,” said Charlie.
“We got rid of Ronaldo and we are going to win. There is not much to do now. We have to get rid of France and in the final we will get rid of England or Germany,” he added.
Ronaldo bows out with five goals from four games, and is currently the tournament’s top scorer. Yet it remains to be seen if the 36-year-old will return for a sixth Euros in Germany in 2024 or if the competition’s all-time top scorer will bow out of national team duty after the Qatar World Cup next year.
Belgium were among the pre-tournament favourites but this was a stodgy and uninspired display and they will need to raise their game significantly if they are to get past Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri who are unbeaten in 31 matches.
The task against Italy could be even more difficult if Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, who both came off with knocks in the second half, are unable to recover from their latest injury woes.
(Production: Miguel Pereira, Marco Trujillo and Elena Gyldenkerne)