De Rode Duivels is facing the first real challenge in the round of 16 as they are taking on Portugal. The defending champions might only finish on the third of the final standings in Group D. Yet, Seleccao de Quinas remain one of the tournament favourites. Roberto Martinez’s side will prove their quality and strong mentality to be able to crush CR7 and Co at this stage. Both teams will be squaring off on this weekend in La Cartuja Stadium, Sevilla.
Both teams’ previous games
Belgium continues their positive trend after securing another win at the group stage. They thumped Finland 2-0 through an own goal by Lukas Hradrecky and Romelu Lukaku’s goal. They are simply too strong for the other three contenders in group B.
Meanwhile, Portugal could only muster a 2-2 draw in the final game of group F against France. Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace saved them from another defeat from Les Bluses whose goals were scored by his former teammate in Madrid, Karim Benzema.
Roberto Martinez would still count on his 3-4-3 formation with Romelu Lukaku as the targetman upfront. The Inter Milan forward will be accompanied by Eden Hazard or his brother Thorgan and Kevin de Bruyne. In the midfield, Yannick Carrasco and Leandro Trossard are operating both flanks with Youri Tielemans and Leandro Dendoncker in the middle.
Fernando Santos, on the other hand, might attempt to employ more pragmatic approach here although still opt for 4-3-3 formation. Cristiano Ronaldo will be supported by Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva. The latter can drop off in the midfield to help winning the ball when Belgium is in progress of building up their attack.
Players to watch
Both sides can boast their prolific striker here. Romelu Lukaku is certainly a threat for Portuguese backline. The former Manchester united man has bagged three goals in the tournament. Some other key men in the team are surely Kevin de Bruyne, Thorgan Hazard and Youri Tielemans.
In Portugal, the skipper CR7 himself is still playing the vital role upfront. He has netted five goals plus one assist which put him as the leading top scorer. His partner, Liverpool man, Diogo Jota has more to offer for him as he could be playing outwide when necessary. Another notable name in the squad is the best young player in the previous Euro, Renato Sanches. His physical and defensive prowess could help his team control the game as well as initiate the counter attack plus become the first wall of their defensive stance.
Belgium vs Portugal prediction
Fernando Santos’s side would focus on not conceding here as Belgium is bound to control the game and ball possession. Their wave of attack is inevitable. However, Kevin de Bruyne and Co have the mentality to make a comeback as well just like what they did against Denmark. No wonder that this exciting clash would be hard to predict. A stalemate during the normal time would be more possible and the winner will be decided by penalties..
According to the punters, the match is expected to be even. Belgium are backed to win at 19/12. The draw result is at the value of 40/17, whereas Seleccao de Quinas are priced to win at 28/13.