Belgium edges Portugal, reaches quarterfinals at Euro 2020

The top-ranked Belgians held Ronaldo scoreless Sunday and held onto a first-half lead to beat Portugal 1-0 and advance to the quarterfinals of the European Championship.

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Ronaldo, who threw his captain’s armband to the ground in despair after the final whistle, is still one goal shy of becoming the all-time men’s top scorer in international soccer. He came into the match tied with former Iran striker Ali Daei at 109 obiettivi.

Belgio, which has never before won a major soccer title, will next face Italy on Friday in Munich.

Belgium’s potent attack, led by Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, also struggled, but Thorgan Hazard scored the winning goal in the 42nd minute with a swerving shot from outside the area. Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patrício was left wrong-footed and was late to swat the ball away.

Belgium played most of the second half without De Bruyne, who had to be substituted after being tackled from behind.

Portugal had several good chances to equalize late in the match, including a header by Rúben Dias saved by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and a shot by Raphael Guerreiro that hit the post.

While Portugal’s run for a second consecutive European title ended, Belgium stayed on track to end its title drought. The Belgians lost in the European Championship final in 1980 and finished third three years ago at the World Cup for their best finish at that tournament.

The Red Devils have won all four matches so far at Euro 2020 and won all 10 qualifiers for the tournament. The team is unbeaten in 13 consecutive matches in all competitions, since a loss to England last year in the Nations League.

Ronaldo was kept in check for most of the match, with his best scoring chance coming from a free kick saved by Courtois in the 25th minute. He also was off target with a free kick in the 74th, and then only managed a weak shot on goal from inside the area a few minutes later.

The Juventus striker seemed frustrated by the lack of opportunities, and he also couldn’t do much to help his teammates, with Diogo Jota misfiring from close range after a pass from Ronaldo in the 56th.

It was a slow start at La Cartuja Stadium on a hot night in southern Spain, with neither team threatening much offensively.

Portugal kept Belgium’s attack under control until Thorgan Hazard scored after a failed clearance in front of the area.

The game grew heated at times, with a small altercation starting in the 76th after Portugal defender Pepe came in hard on Thorgan Hazard while play was stopped so Lukaku could be attended by doctors after being hit on the head by an opponent’s foot.

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