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Neither side will have wanted a heavyweight encounter this early in the knockouts, and for Portugal, it seems they’re going to have to defend their crown the hard way having already taken on Germany and France in the group stages.
Most likely Italy will await the winner in the quarter-finals, while the semis could well pit them against either France or Spain.
Belgium benefit from a couple of extra days rest and beyond their second group game with Denmark, they haven’t really had to exert themselves too much.
Although Eden Hazard hasn’t looked anywhere near his best, he did get a full 90 minutes under his belt in the final group game against Finland, while other star men Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku appear in fine fettle.
Belgium And Portugal To Draw
The Red Devils have lost just once in 26 appearances since the start of 2019, winning 22 of these, as their current unbeaten streak extends to 12 matches.
Still, after winning by a minimum three-goal margin in eight of 10 games between June 2019 and September 2020, Roberto Martinez’s men have only triumphed by such a margin in two of 14 subsequent outings.
Portugal aren’t often beaten either as since their 2018 World Cup exit, they hold a W19-D10-L3 record.
They’re certainly more prone to stalemates, even drawing six of seven matches over 90 minutes in Euro 2016, which is especially the case when they take on the top sides.
Both Teams To Score
Fernando Santos’ men are a very even W2-D8-L3 against elite outfits Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain since the start of Euro 2016.
Nine of the 13 matches featured a single goal or none at all, though given their high-scoring clashes with Les Bleus and Die Mannschaft in the group stages, we wouldn’t be so confident that this encounter will be short of goal-mouth action.
Indeed, Portugal only possess four clean sheets from their last 10 games, with three of those coming against Azerbaijan, Israel and Hungary.
This spell even saw them concede against minnows Luxembourg, and twice each against Croatia, Serbia, France and Germany. Moreover, both teams have scored in 12 of Belgium’s past 18 matches and Portugal certainly have the attacking talent to grab a goal from somewhere.
Cristiano Ronaldo To Score Anytime
Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku understandably lead the goalscoring market, but it’s the former who is currently the tournament’s top scorer with five strikes so far, despite the strength of opposition in the group of death.
He’s already tumbled records this summer as he’s become the first player to appear in five different Euro campaigns, scoring in each of them, as no one else has managed to net in more than three separate editions.
His 14 goals across these tournaments puts him five clear of next-best Michel Platini, while his brace against France last time out brought him up to 109 international goals as he equalled the all-time record set by Iran’s Ali Daei.
Ronaldo is also the oldest goalscorer ever at the Euros, and frighteningly, his output on the international stage has been speeding up rather than slowing down despite his advancing years.
He has 109 goals from 178 caps in total, including 48 from his past 45 matches for Portugal, as he’s drawn a blank in just one of the last six.
He’s only ever played against Belgium twice, registering two goals and an assist in a 4-0 win back in 2007, and scoring what turned out to be the winner in a friendly in 2016.