Belgium ends Portugal’s European reign, Czech Republic thrashes Netherlands


London: Belgium reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Portugal in Seville on Sunday evening while the Netherlands were eliminated after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic.

Thorgan Hazard’s long-range strike just before halftime proved to be the difference between the sides, on a night of fine margins at La Cartuja.

A largely quiet first half exploded into life after 42 minutes, as Thorgan Hazard picked up the ball midway into the Portugal half, before firing a fierce dipping effort past Rui Patricio to give his side the advantage at the break.

Portugal’s best opportunity of the night came 10 minutes from time, as a cleared header was met by Raphael Guerreiro on the half-volley, only to see his effort come rebound off the inside of the post, as they failed to find a breakthrough.

Belgium will now face a mouth-watering tie against Italy on Friday evening for a place in the semi-final.

On the other hand, Second half strikes from Tomas Holes and Patrik Schick, following Matthijs de Ligt’s red card, wrapped up the win for the Czech Republic in Budapest.

Donyell Malen raced through on goal after 52 minutes and looked to round Tomas Vaclik, but the Czech goalkeeper held his nerve to deny the striker.

This proved costly three minutes later, as De Ligt stopped the ball with his hand with Patrik Schick lurking just behind, before receiving a straight red card after a VAR review.

The Czech Republic took control of the match, and were ahead after 68 minutes. A deep corner was headed back across goal by Tomas Kalas, with Holes on hand to head home.

With 10 minutes remaining, the advantage was doubled. Holes dispossessed Georginio Wijnaldum brilliantly before his cut-back was slotted home coolly by Shick, as the Netherlands suffered an early exit from Euro 2020.

Czech Republic will now face Denmark on Friday evening for a place in the semi-final on Saturday.

Read: Italy and Denmark make into quarter-finals of Euro 2020