Euro 2020 last-16: Holders Portugal take on top-ranked Belgium

Portugal face stiff test in bid to retain crown while Netherlands face Czech Republic for spot in quarter-finals.

Portugal coach Santos is 'firmly convinced' his side will come out on top in its clash against Belgium on Sunday [Marcelo Del Pozo/Reuters]

Where: Estadio de La Cartuja, Seville
When: Sunday, June 27
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT

Cristiano Ronaldo can gain sole possession of the international scoring world record when title-holders Portugal face the world’s top-ranked Belgium on Sunday in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Ronaldo has equalled the mark of 109 goals from Iran’s Ali Daei with five goals so far at the tournament and will be hungry for more in Seville to help the team into the quarter-finals.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos has lamented that his players have two fewer days of rest than Belgium but said they will be ready for the challenge in what are expected to be hot conditions in southern Spain.

Belgium’s golden generation finally wants a title after coming third at the 2018 World Cup, and have a super striker as well in Romelu Lukaku from Serie A champions Inter Milan.

His game seems to have moved up a level since he arrived at Inter in 2019 and Jan Vertonghen was full of praise for the 28-year-old’s progress.

“I’ve known him since he was 16 … the way he has developed from being a strong, quick kid into one of the best strikers in the world is one of the best things I’ve seen in my career,” defender Vertonghen told reporters.

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.

Dutch aim ‘to win it’

Where: Puskas Arena, Budapest
When: Sunday, June 27
Kick-off: 16:00 GMT

Netherlands coach Frank de Boer, meanwhile, has his sights set on winning the whole thing as his flamboyant “Oranje” take on the Czech Republic at the Puskas Arena in Budapest in the earlier last-16 tie on Sunday.

The Dutch strolled through Group C, winning all three games in Amsterdam and scoring eight goals in the process, and de Boer was not shy in saying his aim was to make and win the Wembley final.

“Our goal is not only to reach the final but to win it, that’s the objective, then the tournament will be judged a success for us,” de Boer said ahead of the clash in Budapest.

“You don’t become a European champion easily but I think we have the quality to do so.”

The Czechs may be without captain Vladimir Darida after the midfielder suffered an unspecified knock in Friday’s training session.

The Czechs also had to cope with their flight to Budapest being delayed by a technical fault with the aircraft door, which forced them to train in Prague on Saturday before later flying to Hungary for Sunday’s match at the Puskas Arena.

Source: News Agencies

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