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Hazard Stunner as Belgium Eliminate Holders Portugal

 

A stunning strike from Thorgan Hazard gave Belgium a 1-0 win over holders Portugal to set up a Euro 2020 quarter-final against Italy.

In a sometimes cagey and ill-tempered encounter in Seville, the younger of the two Hazard brothers in Belgium’s starting line-up provided the game’s only real moment of quality when he unleashed a swerving, long-range effort which flew past Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio late in the first half.

Portugal had the better chances before that, with Diogo Jota firing wastefully wide and Euro 2020 top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo forcing a diving save from Thibaut Courtois with a well-struck free-kick.

But despite the introductions of Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix in the second half, Fernando Santos’ side were unable to muster an equaliser, with Raphael Guerreiro going closest when he struck a low shot against the post in the closing stages.

Portugal’s players became increasingly frustrated as their hopes of retaining the trophy receded, with referee Felix Brych showing a string of yellow cards in a stop-start second half, and it was not all positive for Roberto Martinez’s side either.

Belgium lost Kevin De Bruyne to an apparent ankle injury after a late challenge by Portugal midfielder Joao Palhinha shortly before half-time, while Eden Hazard may also be a doubt to face Italy in Munich on Friday having walked off clutching his hamstring late on.

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