Thorgan Hazard’s stunning first-half strike ended the Seleção’s reign as European champions.
Portugal’s defence of their UEFA EURO title came to an end in the round of 16 thanks to Thorgan Hazard’s winner for Belgium in Seville.
Match in brief
Portugal had the early sniffs of goal with Diogo Jota dragging wide and Cristiano Ronaldo, seeking to become the outright top scorer in the history of international football, stinging the palms of Thibaut Courtois with a free-kick. The Red Devils failed to trouble Rui Patrício until close to the interval, then Hazard’s vicious swerving effort fizzed past the Portugal No1 to break the deadlock.
Roberto Martínez lost the services of Kevin De Bruyne – and their rhythm – shortly after half-time but their defensive resolve remained, Diogo Jota off target with a rare opening for Fernando Santos’s frustrated outfit. The Seleção came on strong as their grip on the trophy weakened, Rúben Dias’s header testing Courtois and Raphaël Guerreiro firing against the post, but this was the Belgians’ day.
Star of the Match: Thorgan Hazard (Belgium)
“Excellent work in attack and defence, and scored a fantastic goal.”
Ginés Meléndez, UEFA Technical Observer
Alyssa Saliou, Belgium reporter
Hazard’s magnificent goal brings Belgium victory! Courtois made world-class saves against a dangerous Portugal but Belgium – with plenty of character and a little luck – reach the quarter-finals!
Carlos Machado, Portugal reporter
The holders are out but it was hard-fought. They pushed in the second half and came close to scoring, showing quality and deserving more.
Thorgan Hazard, Belgium midfielder: “In these kinds of games you have to grab your chances with both hands. And voila! The goalkeeper expected me to choose the other corner, so the ball went in. I am happy I could score for my country!”
Thomas Vermaelen, Belgium defender: “In the first half we were playing high and putting pressure on Portugal but, looking at that second half, we are lucky to win. Portugal made it really hard for us. We had to really stay focused.”
Thibaut Courtois, Belgium goalkeeper: “I didn’t have a lot of work to do in the previous three games but I knew that wasn’t going to be the case against Portugal. I am proud of my team-mates; they defended very well. Italy will be difficult too, but we have proved today that we are ready for it.”
João Palhinha, Portugal midfielder: “We created more chances than Belgium. In the first half, we managed to control the game well. I don’t remember any other opportunity for Belgium except the goal. It is with great unhappiness that we are going to back Portugal.”