Belgium vs Portugal: Defending champions out to stop golden generation

Finishing third in their group means Portugal will have to get through Belgium if they are to continue the defence of their title. Who will prevail in the battle of the heavyweights?

When: Sunday, June 27, 20:00 BST

How to watch: ITV

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best bets

Over 2.5 goals at 11/10

Match winning margin - one goal at 13/10

Cristiano Ronaldo to score a header at 15/2

Talk about a blockbuster!

This Sunday's Euro 2020 round-of-16 clash between Belgium and Portugal has the makings of an absolute classic.

From Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku to Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne - the amount of talent on show is staggering. Question is, who will keep their cool in the midst of chaos and prevail on the biggest stage?

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Portugal, as the defending champions, know all about stepping up in big occasions. Belgium, on the other hand, are yet to deliver in spite of their star-studded squad over the past decade.

The bookmakers are slightly favouring Belgium in this contest at the outright price of 7/5. Considering Portugal haven't been all that convincing in the group of death, that doesn't come as a surprise.

But don't forget, Portugal didn't exactly fly through the group stage in 2016 either. Yet despite this, they went on to claim glory in France.

Last three matches

Belgium 0-0 Portugal (Friendly - June 2, 2018)

In their last head-to-head meeting, both sides produced a total of 23 goal attempts.

Nevertheless, the match, which took place at the King Baudouin Stadium, ended in a goalless draw.

Portugal 2-1 Belgium (Friendly - March 29, 2016)

Back in 2016, both nations once again met in an international friendly.

Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the first half as Portugal took a commanding lead into the break.

Belgium brought Romelu Lukaku off the bench in the second half and three minutes after his entrance, the forward scored.

Despite this, Portugal held on to claim an impressive win over in Leiria.

Belgium 1-2 Portugal (European Championship Qualifier - June 2, 2007)

During the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, the two nations were drawn in the same group.

In their second encounter, it was Portugal who reigned supreme in Brussels.

Nani opened the scoring just before the interval but their lead didn't last long. Belgium scored the equaliser through Marouane Fellaini 10 minutes after the restart to set up a tense second half.

Despite playing away from home, Portugal pressed on and got their reward in the 63rd minute as Helder Postiga bagged what proved to be the winning goal.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Belgium wins: 2

Draws: 5

Portugal wins: 3

Belgium goals: 11

Portugal goals: 12

Belgium's credentials to be tested

Belgium's golden generation are yet to deliver silverware and with many of their players approaching their 30s, time is running out to maximise their full potential.

So what is the issue? Why are the Red Devils unable to make a breakthrough?

Belgium squad celebrates their second against Russia
Belgium squad celebrates their second against Russia

During the 2014 World Cup, the team fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Argentina in the quarter-finals. Two years later, it was Wales who spectacularly knocked out Belgium at the same stage of Euro 2016.

Two years after that, the Red Devils again fell to a 1-0 defeat as France prevailed in the World Cup semi-final.

Belgium have looked impressive during the Euro 2020 group stage but have they really been tested? Their true metal will certainly come under scrutiny when they meet Portugal in Sevilla.

Belgium's Group Stage results

Belgium 3-0 Russia

Denmark 1-2 Belgium

Finland 0-2 Belgium

Defending champions battle hardened

Finishing third in their group was not ideal for Portugal. However, if you're drawn in the group of death, progression is the only thing that matters.

Fernando Santos' side got off to a slow start against Hungary but in the end, they came out with a 3-0 victory.

Fernando Santos was satisfied with the win over Hungary even if Portugal left it late
Fernando Santos was satisfied with the win over Hungary even if Portugal left it late

In their next game, the defending champions were humbled as Germany picked up a comprehensive 4-2 win. Their final group test came against France and to their credit, Portugal did come away with a point.

Their reward for surviving the tournament's toughest group is a clash with red-hot Belgium. But knowing Portugal, they will certainly be up for the challenge. The defending champions are battle hardened but, according to the bookies, they're also the underdogs.

Portugal's Group Stage results

Hungary 0-3 Portugal

Portugal 2-4 Germany

Portugal 2-2 France

Goalscorer bets

Both of these nations have been involved in some high-scoring contests in this tournament so far. With that in mind, goals are to be expected.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the obvious protagonist in this contest considering he tops the Euro 2020 goal scoring charts.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time highest goalscorer in the European Championships
Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time highest goalscorer in the European Championships

Odds of 29/20 represent decent value for the Juventus forward to score anytime.

However, our tip is to back CR7 to score a header at a more enticing price of 15/2.

READ MORE: Euro 2020 mid-term report: Pre-tournament picks Denmark still offer each-way value