NAME: Belgium – Portugal
DATE: 27 Jun 2021
TIME: 19:00 UTC
VENUE: Estadio de la Cartuja, Seville, Spain
Two matches are scheduled to be played in the Euro 2020 championship on Sunday, and fans have big names to look forward to. The action starts at 17:00 when Holland faces the Czech Republic in a knockout match, and you can follow our in-depth preview on this site. This article focuses on the top of the dispute between heavyweights Belgium and Portugal, which starts at 20:00 GMT.
This is a match that will turn heads across the soccer planet as it pairs the reigning champion in Portugal with one of the pre-tournament favorites in Belgium. As we are now playing a round of 16 football, there is no margin for error. The losing team will be eliminated from the competition, and the winning team will advance to the next round. There is everything to play here, and it will be an exciting 90 minute game with extra time and penalties available if needed.
Statistics show that these nations have met five times previously, with the Portuguese undefeated at that time. The comparison charts show that the reigning European champions have won three of those five, with the other two ending in a draw. However, the pair ended up tied in their last meeting, playing a tense scoreless draw in a friendly match three years ago. Another competitive contest awaits, but which team will win?
Belgium impressed during qualifying or Euro 2020 by winning their group, finishing well away from the runners-up Russia with Scotland back in third place. The Red Fury hardly needed to get out of first gear to reserve their spot in this tournament and had no problem picking up the pace when the going got serious. They finished as Group B winners with a maximum of nine points claimed in three games. It is one of only three nations to have a 100% record in the group stage.
The Belgians finished six points ahead of the runners-up Denmark, with Finland and Russia coming out of the competition. A closer look at the statistics for those three games shows that Belgium scored seven goals and conceded just one. That places them among the strongest defensive teams in the competition and among the best in goals scored. Confidence is high in camp, and they come into this match believing they are good enough to take a big scalp in Portugal and move on to the next round. Belgian fans know that this team is special and good enough to win the nation’s first European championship, but it has fared no better than the runners-up in the past.
They came off the mark with a simple 3-0 win over Russia on matchday one and after having beaten the same opponent at home and away during qualifying; there was no real shock to that result. Belgium then moved on to defeat runner-up Denmark by a final score of 2-1 in a game that was a bit closer than many experts expected. They completed the group with a solid 2-0 over Finland, flexing their muscles and showing why many experts have chosen them as champions.
Portugal comes out to defend
Portugal won the European Championship in 2016 and kept the trophy for a further 12 months due to the coronavirus emergency. Despite the delay in defending their crown, the reigning champions entered the game this summer believing that they are good enough to retain the title, even if many experts and professionals of the game had ruled them out. They were included in what is known as the “group of death” by sharing a pool with France, Germany, Y Hungary. Fans knew their team was facing an uphill struggle to get past Group F.
They finished the group as one of the best third-placed finishers, claiming the four points necessary to keep their dream alive. France won the group with an undefeated record and collecting five points. That put them ahead of Germany and Portugal with four points, and the Germans slipped to second place on goal difference. It was as tight as most soccer fans expected in that group, but Portugal breathed a sigh of relief as they reserved their place in the knockout rounds. His form for the first three games said win-lose-draw.
Portugal opened the competition with a 3-0 win over Hungary, but that match was closer than the final score would suggest. Portugal scored three goals in the closing minutes with a double at the end of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Hungarians had every right to be aggrieved by the defeat, no doubt the end result, but it was Portugal who pressed on. They were beaten 4-2 by Germany in their second match before rounding things out with a 2-2 win against France.