Belgium stopped Cristiano Ronaldo from one end and had enough attacking power from the other.
The best-ranked Belgians held Ronaldo without a score on Sunday and held the lead in the first half to beat Portugal 1-0 and qualify for the quarterfinals of the European Championship.
Ronaldo, who threw his captain’s armband in despair after the last referee signal, is still shy to become the best goal scorer of all time in international football. He entered the match, equal to the former striker of Iran Ali Daey with 109 goals.
Belgium, which has never won a major football title before, will face Italy on Friday in Munich.
Belgium’s powerful attack, led by Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, also struggled, but Torgan Hazard scored the winning goal in the 42nd minute with a deflection shot outside the zone. Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio was left with incorrect legs and was late to kill the ball.
“In these types of games, you have to grab your chances with both hands,” said Torgan Hazard. “The goalkeeper was expecting me to pick the other corner, so the ball came in.”
Belgium played most of the second half without De Bruyne, who had to be replaced after being removed from behind and injuring his left ankle. De Bruyne missed the Euroleague team’s first match while recovering from a facial injury sustained in the Champions League final.
Portugal had several good chances to equalize at the end of the match, including a header by Ruben Diaz, saved by Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and a shot by Rafael Guerreiro, who hit the crossbar.
The Portuguese made most of the attacks in the second half, finishing the match with 24 attempts. Belgium had a total of six and scored the only time they hit the target.
“Given the second half, we are lucky to win,” said Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen. “Portugal has really made it difficult for us. We really had to stay focused. It costs us a lot of energy, but we have little time to recover and now we are looking forward to the match against Italy. “
By the time Portugal’s race for a second consecutive European title was over, Belgium was on track to end its drought in the title. The Belgians lost in the final of the European Championship in 1980 and finished third three years ago at the World Cup for their best final of this 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 undefeated in 13 consecutive games in all competitions, after losing to England last year in the League of Nations. Belgium has lost just one of its last 27 international matches.
“We showed incredible concentration and defended really well,” said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. “We scored a very good goal and then in the second half, as you expected, the momentum went more to Portugal.”
Ronaldo was kept under control for most of the match, with his best chance result being a free kick saved by Courtois in the 25th minute. He was also off target with a free kick in the 74th minute, then managed only a weak kick to the door from the zone a few minutes later.
The Juventus striker seemed disappointed with the lack of opportunities and he also could not help his teammates much, and Diogo Jota made a close mistake after a pass from Ronaldo in the 56th.
“We have some players crying in the locker room and I’m sure there are a lot of Portuguese fans, too,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos. “We were confident in our chances of winning the European title and we thought we could win it. Portugal deserved to win this match, but it did not happen. “
It was a slow start at La Cartuja Stadium on a hot night in southern Spain, with neither team threatening very offensively.
Portugal kept Belgium’s attack under control while Thorgan Hazard scored after an unsuccessful clearing in front of the zone. The accumulation of the goal began with Courtois modeling Ronaldo in his own zone. The striker tried to put pressure on the goalkeeper, but he reduced the ball when Ronaldo passed him.
The game heated up at times, with a little quarrel, starting in the 76th minute when Portugal defender Pepe entered hard into Thorgan Hazard while the game was stopped while Lukaku waited to be admitted by doctors after being hit on the head by an opponent. leg.