Euro 2020 today: World’s best Belgium face defending champions Portugal

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Euro 2020 Today: World’s Best Belgium Face Defending Champions Portugal
Portugal take on the world's number one ranked team Belgium for a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020. Photo: AP/Press Association
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By PA Sport Staff

Belgium, top of the world rankings, and holders Portugal go head-to-head on Sunday looking to secure a Euro 2020 quarter-final place against Italy.

Holland, meanwhile, face the Czech Republic at the Puskas Arena for the right to meet Denmark, who ended Wales’ hopes with a 4-0 win in Amsterdam on Saturday.

Kasper Dolberg struck either side of half-time at the Johan Cruyff Arena, before late goals from Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite wrapped up an impressive win.

Wales, who were one of the most-travelled squads through the tournament, finished with 10 men after substitute Harry Wilson was sent off in the final minute as Gareth Bale’s men bowed out.

Italy had eventually dispatched a dogged Austria after extra-time at Wembley.

The Azzuri had looked one of the best teams in the tournament during the group stages, but found clear chances hard to come by as Austria stood firm, with a long-range effort from Ciro Immobile hitting the crossbar.

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Austria, who finished as runners-up to Holland in Group C, were the better team after the break and had the ball in the net through a far-post header from Marko Arnautovic – but the former West Ham striker saw his effort ruled out by VAR for offside.

Italy finally broke the deadlock in the fourth minute of extra-time when substitute Federico Chiesa fired in at the far post and Matteo Pessina drilled home a low second, before Sasa Kalajdzic headed in a late but deserved consolation.

Goodbye Gareth?

There has been speculation the 31-year-old may be contemplating retirement. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/AP

Wales captain Bale walked away from a post-match interview when asked about his future in the wake of the defeat against Denmark. Bale led Wales on the occasion of his 96th cap but, in the build-up to the tournament, there has been speculation that the 31-year-old may be contemplating retirement.

Asked if this would be his last game for Wales, Bale rolled his eyes and walked out of the post-match pitch-side interview. Wales interim coach Robert Page defended Bale’s reaction to being questioned over his future by saying emotions were raw. Wales fans everywhere will be praying the Real Madrid forward decides to give it another go on the road towards the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Mancini’s fine Italian job

Italy boss Roberto Mancini had been eager to play down his nation’s favourites tag heading into the last 16. Despite being left frustrated for long spells by a determined Austria – who but for a marginal offside call had threatened to upset the form book – the Azzuri’s class eventually told. Mancini’s well-drilled outfit have now surpassed the unbeaten run set by Vittorio Pozzo’s side between 1935 and 1939. Just three more to go then. No pressure.

Post of the day

Denmark set for fairytale finish?

Denmark’s togetherness was again on display at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Photo: PA

Denmark have become a lot of people’s ‘second team’ for the way they have responded after Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening group match and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. They may have qualified for the knock-out stage on a wave of emotion, but that should still not deflect from the fine footballing displays shown by Kasper Hjulmand’s squad en route to the last eight.

Quote of the day

 

Stat attack

Italy continue to break new ground at Euro 2020. As well as extending their unbeaten run through 31 games to set a new national record, the Azzurri had also not conceded a goal for 1168 minutes until Kalajdzic finally breached their resolute defences. Before that, Holland were the last team to score against Italy in a Nations League fixture during October 2020.

Up next

Holland v Czech Republic (Round of 16, June 27th, Budapest, 5pm)
Belgium v Portugal (Round of 16, June 27th, Seville, 8pm)

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