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Grit and discipline see Belgium through to quarter finals

Belgium’s national football team the Red Devils have beaten the defending European champions Portugal to earn a place in the quarter finals of Euro 2020. The Red Devils will face Italy in what promises to be a mouth-watering quarter final tie.

The only goal of the game, a 43rd-minute strike from Thorgan Hazard, secured the win for Roberto Martinez's men. Belgium survived no shortage of plenty of pressure from the Portuguese in the second half. However, the 2016 European champions lacked that finishing touch and it was “adeus Portugal”.

They had started brightly and Diogo Jota wasted a great chance in the sixth minute, dragging his shot wide after Renato Sanches had broken from midfield and found him in a promising position on the left. Ronaldo then tested Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois with a low-struck free kick as Fernando Santos's team continued to apply pressure.

However, Belgium grew into the game with Kevin De Bruyne increasingly influential. Three minutes before the Red Devils took the lead thanks to a long-range strike from Thorgan Hazard.

Belgium suffered a blow when De Bruyne limped off with an injury three minutes after the break. The Portuguese coach Santos brought in Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix.

Portugal piled on the pressure and it must be said that Belgium were struggling to contain their opponents.

The Red Devils' attempts at counterattack became increasingly rare. Desperate for an equaliser, Portugal turned up the heat in the final 10 minutes. However, Thibaut Courtois was on hand to deny them. He punched away a thundering Ruben Dias header from a corner. Moments later Raphael Guerreiro struck the post.

Well into stoppage time Portugal had one final chance. However, Felix's effort went just wide, and Belgium won the game 1-0. 

"Years of commitment, years of giving everything"

Speaking about the Red Devils' back three the national team coach Roberto Martinez told journalists   "What you saw today was years of commitment, years of giving everything, and the commitment they have with the Red Devils is incredible," 

 "The talent they have makes the duty of defending an art. This game should be shown in the academies of Belgium of how to defend."

"We never lost concentration, there were difficult moments, and the way Portugal tried to get the victory until the last minute gives me a lot of satisfaction," added Martinez.

"This is what a winning team needs. We all know the talent and good football we can play, but today we showed all the other elements you have to show. As a coach I couldn't be prouder." 

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