Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates had been dumped out of Euro 2020 by Belgium as Thorgan Hazard gave his nation a 1-Zero win.
Ronaldo helped his facet win Euro 2016 however couldn’t muster something particular in Spain to save lots of his nation from an early exit by the hands of the Pink Devils.
It was all the time going to be an intriguing encounter between two heavy hitters nevertheless it was hardly a European Championship basic.
A meandering first interval was lit up on the final because the youthful Hazard scored a surprising strike which swerved previous Rui Patricio.
The Belgians misplaced Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard to harm all through the encounter, with the previous a critical fear with an ankle drawback.
However regardless of large late strain Belgium had been capable of repel Ronaldo – the present Golden Boot chief – and his teammates and seal a quarter-final tie towards Italy on July 2 in Munich.
Within the opening exchanges, solely jabs had been thrown by the 2 sides as they slowly acclimatised to the pitch in Seville.
The opening 15 minutes noticed simply 5 touches of the ball between the 2 goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Patricio, highlighting the shortage of offensive motion.
Ronaldo used all his wily antics to extend his facet’s possibilities of success, making a meal of contact from Thomas Meunier, whereas Renato Sanches scuffed a long-range shot large of aim.
In the meantime, a Ronaldo free-kick swerved in the direction of aim however Courtois saved and Joao Palhinha couldn’t attain the rebound.
It was Ronaldo’s 27th free-kick at European Championships since 2004 – greater than any nation – only a disgrace he hasn’t scored any of them.
The sport’s gradual ebb and stream noticed a string of passive passes and a few timid dribbles met by stoic defences at both finish of the pitch.
Toby Alderweireld blocking runs and Pepe denying Lukaku an inch within the battle.
Meunier was then chastised by teammate Lukaku as he tried an outdoor of the boot roller fairly than slip him a move within the field.
However simply when it appeared like half-time could be a significant second for the perimeters to gather their ideas, the Belgians struck.
Lukaku bullied Ruben Dias within the build-up, and after the Belgians recovered the ball, Hazard hammered a swerved effort past Patricio, why could really feel he might have achieved higher.
Ronaldo, palms on hips, wasn’t comfortable.
talkSPORTs Matt Holland definitely loved it too.
“We’ve simply seen a bit of magic,” he cooed.
“It finds its technique to Thorgan Hazard on the left fringe of the field, he cuts inside on his proper foot, he arrows his shot previous Patricio into the highest nook.
“That’s completely prime drawer. It’s obtained swerve, it’s obtained bend, it drifts away from Patricio.
“It was perhaps extra in the midst of the aim than I believed and Patricio maybe ought to have achieved higher however there was a lot motion on that ball. It’s a unbelievable strike from Hazard.”
Previous to the break, De Bruyne was on the top of a crunching sort out from Palhinha, incomes the Portuguese a reserving.
And whereas the Man City ace return to the sphere for the second interval, he was swiftly changed by Dries Mertens as supervisor Robert Martinez opted to not additional threat his talisman’s tender ankle.
Joao Felix, Atletico Madrid’s £113million wonderkid, and Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes entered the fray because the reigning champions appeared for a route again into the competition.
Diogo Jota and Felix missed probabilities however nothing that brought on Belgium to interrupt an excessive amount of sweat.
Ronaldo wrapped a 28th free-kick into the wall as the sport wore on as clear probabilities had been few and much between.
Feistiness was quickly the order of the day with veteran defender Pepe stepping into exhausting on the youthful Hazard after the whistle had been blown to pause play for a head harm to Lukaku.
The Porto ace was solely booked for ill-advised problem.
As Portugal pressed ahead, Courtois needed to punch away a Dias header, whereas Raphael Guerreiro hit the submit as time ticked away for the Euro 2016 winners.
Andre Silva was one other who went shut because the shedding facet pressed ahead, whereas their defence robustly handled any counters.
One final Felix strike was dragged large and when the ultimate whistle blew a fuming Ronaldo thumped the ground.
He’s at the moment on 5 targets at Euro 2020 with Patrik Shick now one behind him on 4 having helped Czech Republic beat Netherlands.
Will he be overwhelmed to the award?