Portugal Vs Belgium: Clash of the heavyweights in Euro 2020

Defending champions Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, will take on world’s top-ranked team Belgium in their round of 16 match

Christiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku will face off each other today in the much awaited knockout game of the tournament. Ronaldo is the Euro’s leading scorer after netting five times in the group stage while Lukaku, who is in the form of his life, is lurking behind the Portugal captain with three goals. Juventus forward Ronaldo is also just one goal away from breaking Ali Daei’s all-time international goalscoring record of 109, which he equalled with a brace against France in the European champions’ final Group F game.

The pair will take on each other at the Euro after doing battle in the Serie A scoring charts last season, with 36-year-old Ronaldo being crowned ‘capocannoniere’ after scoring 29 times in a difficult season for Juventus.

However Lukaku pipped Ronaldo to the league’s player of the season award last campaign despite scoring five fewer goals as he played a key role in Inter Milan winning their first league title in over a decade.

Both teams will have their work cut out to reach the July 11 final at Wembley with Italy, who squeezed past Austria on Saturday, and either world champions France or Spain the opponents in the next two rounds if they get beyond the last 16.

However Portugal coach Fernando Santos is “firmly convinced” his side will come out on top in the clash in Seville.

Speaking about Belgium, the coach of Portugal’s football team said “Belgium has a lot of strengths, especially the knowledge they have of each other for having been together for such a long time. Everything flows naturally. They already know where everyone is without having to think about it “

Players to watch out for in today’s big game –

1. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) – There are a lot of players who have the ability to single-handedly change the outcome of games for Belgium. But the player who usually ends up finding the back of the net for the Red Devils is their striker, Lukaku. He is expected to be the dangerman Portugal need to watch out for.

2. Pepe ( Portugal) – Pepe is the bedrock of Portugal’s defense. In the ongoing Euro 2020, he has recovered more balls than any other Portugal player and has also won two tackles in three games thus far. His experience makes him one of the key players for Fernando Santos. Pepe will be given the huge task of keeping Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku when the two teams lock horns on Sunday

3. Kevin de Bruyne( Belgium)– He is a player who possesses the ability to do it all on the pitch. He is great from set-pieces, can score with either foot, create chances out of nothing and has the presence of mind to know when to shoot and when to pass.

4. Eden Hazard ( Belgium)- With the kind of experience, Belgium captain possess it will be difficult for the Portugese defenders to contain him and refrain him for providing assists to their strikers.

5. Christiano Ronaldo ( Portugal)– The Juventus star’s drive and dedication towards being the best player in the world is unparalleled. At the business end of tournaments, like the Round-of-16 clash against Belgium at Euro 2020, Ronaldo tends to up the ante, something the Red Devils will have to be wary of.

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