By Curri Carrillo
Sevilla, Spain, Jun 27 (EFE).- A great goal just before the intermission by Thorgan Hazard was the ticket Belgium needed to move to the Eurocup 2020 quarterfinals, downing and eliminating the tourney’s reigning champion Portugal 1-0.
Although the Portuguese squad battled hard throughout the last-16 match at La Cartuja stadium in Sevilla, Spain, before some 16,000 fans, their star striker – team captain Cristiano Ronaldo – was held scoreless by the Belgian squad.
The first half was virtually even-steven with neither team able to manufacture many decent chances, although Hazard’s tally at the 42-minute mark on a perfect shot from outside the area, beating Portuguese goaltender Rui Patricio who moved the wrong way and was unable to get his hand up to deflect.
Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne had to be replaced early in the second half after being tackled from behind.
With the score at 1-0 and the clock winding down, Portugal finally managed to get several good chances, specifically a header by Ruben Dias in the 82nd minute that was saved by Belgium’s netminder Thibaut Courtois along with a shot-on-goal by Raphael Guerreiro that bounced off the post.
The Belgian squad – known as the Red Devils – has won all four of its Euro 2020 matches so far, along with all 10 qualifiers for the tourney.
Belgium has never before won a major soccer championship and will now go up against Italy next Friday in Munich.