Euro 2020, Belgium vs Portugal: Impregnable Belgium face Cristiano Ronaldo challenge in Round of 16

Cristiano Ronaldo actually attracts most of the eye, simply not all of the eye.

Ronaldo is on the verge of changing into the all-time main scorer in worldwide soccer. He can set the file on Sunday when Portugal faces Belgium in the spherical at 16 of the European Championship.

But the Belgians will not be centered solely on Ronaldo.

“If you see a Portugal shirt on the street, it’s 99% a Ronaldo shirt,” Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen, who performs for Portuguese membership Benfica, stated Saturday. “He’s the biggest player in the history of Portugal and we have to respect that, I respect him a lot. But tomorrow it’s not Belgium against Ronaldo, its Belgium against Portugal and they have a lot of good players.”

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez stated there will not be an anti-Ronaldo plan for the match.

“When you put a plan against a player specifically, you could be hurt by other players,” stated Martinez, a Spaniard who can be teaching in his homeland for the primary time in an official competitors. “Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be the player that gets the right moment, that right pass and the right chance and you have to be always aware, but you have to defend the 10 players of Portugal in the same measure.”

Martinez said Portugal has several good players in its squad to support Ronaldo, from Bernardo Silva to Diogo Jota to Bruno Fernandes to Renato Sanches to João Moutinho.

“We all know that Portugal has a gaggle of phenomenal people,” Martinez stated Saturday. “They are a winning team, they’ve been able to work without the ball for long spells and be very comfortable and be a real threat on the counterattack. They have real experience, they are the European champions, they won the Nations League.”

Ronaldo is the event’s main scorer with 5 targets after three matches. He is one aim from breaking the general males’s scoring file in worldwide soccer. The 36-year-old Juventus striker is stage with former Iran striker Ali Daei at 109 targets.

“We all know he’s one of the best footballers in the world,” Martinez stated. “Every player adapts when you get a little bit older, you become a little more clinical with what you do. I think Cristiano Ronaldo knows how to use the space, he penetrates from different areas, he’s got an incredible aerial threat.”

But Portugal additionally has its threats, from Kevin De Bruyne to Eden Hazard to Romelu Lukaku, who has three targets getting into the knockout phases. De Bruyne and Hazard, together with Axel Witsel, are again after steadily returning to the crew in the course of the group matches. They had not been utterly obtainable throughout Belgium’s preparations as a result of of accidents.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos stated he additionally is not making ready a plan to include particular Belgium gamers.

“We can’t give their team space. We can’t let them think without being disrupted by us,” Santos stated Saturday. “They have been playing together for a long time.”

The Red Devils, ranked No. 1 in the world, have gained 13 straight video games, together with its three group video games at Euro 2020 and all 10 qualifiers for the event.

“We are full of confidence, full of momentum,” Martinez stated. “We look forward to seeing how we can improve and how much we can enjoy this occasion, because at the end of the day, it’s when we enjoy our football that we play at our best, and we need to do that.”

Portugal had just one win in its three group matches, in opposition to Hungary in the opener. It then misplaced to Germany and drew with France to advance from the troublesome Group F as one of the very best third-place groups.

Portugal had just one win in 90 minutes throughout the whole event at Euro 2016, when it will definitely broke by with its first main title by beating host France in the ultimate.

Belgium is now the crew making an attempt to finish its title drought and elevate its first main trophy. It was runner-up on the European Championship in 1980, and completed third three years in the past on the World Cup for its greatest end at that event.

“This is a special generation, it’s been committed to international football,” Martinez stated. “We’ve been working a lot in becoming better. We’ve got six players with very close to 100 caps, two players very close to 90 caps. This is an exceptional generation. We are just trying to adapt to what’s going to be needed on Sunday and be as good as we can.”

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