Fernando Santos looks ahead to Belgium challenge
Portugal manager Fernando Santos gave his thoughts after his team booked a mouth-watering clash against top-ranked Belgium in the last-16 of Euro 2020.
Belgium vs Portugal: Line-ups
A Penalty Shootout May Decide the Winner
Martinez’s side are now unbeaten in their last 12 matches and will certainly fancy their chances of challenging for the trophy, although the winner of this contest will face a dangerous Italy side in the quarter-finals.
Belgium finished third at the 2018 World Cup but have not advanced past the quarter-finals of a European Championship since finishing as runners-up in 1980, meaning that their experience in the latter stages is limited despite now being considered as one of the finest sides in international football.
Portugal will have to do it the hard way if they are to make another final, with the likes of Italy, France and Spain all possible opponents in the latter stages, and it will be fascinating to see how they perform on Sunday night, as Belgium will certainly believe that they can harm the Iberian side.
Martinez’s team selection for this match is going to be fascinating, but it is expected to be Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard alongside Lukaku in the final third of the field, leaving Dries Mertens on the bench. As for Portugal, Nelson Semedo had been expected to miss out with the problem that he picked up against France in the latter stages of Wednesday’s contest, but the defender has trained ahead of his match and should get the nod once again, with Diogo Dalot on standby.
This is an incredibly difficult game to call, as it really is a flip of the coin. Both teams will feel that they can hurt the other in the final third of the field, and it is set to be a fascinating contest in Seville. It’s tough to separate the two teams over the course of 90 minutes and indeed extra-time. It’s possible to see Portugal advancing to the quarter-finals courtesy of a penalty-shootout success.