Two of Europe’s big boys have crashed out of the ongoing tournament after Czech Republic and Belgium defeated Netherlands and Portugal respectively.
The game between Czech Republic and Netherlands turned on its head when Matthijs de Ligt was given his marching orders, with VAR recommending that referee Sergei Karasev check the monitor after giving a yellow card at first. In overturning his initial decision, only Edgar David has been sent off more for the Netherlands than the 21-year-old, who was making his 30th appearance for Oranje.
Tomas Holes opened the scoring for the Czech Republic, while Patrik Schick netted his fourth of the tournament to make it 2-0. The stand-out star for Jaroslav Šilhavý’s side this summer, Schick now has 15 goals in 30 appearances for the nation.
A lacklustre Netherlands, who have managed just two wins in their eight European Championship knockout games since winning the tournament back in 1988, seemed to lose all life after the sending off and failed to register a single shot on target throughout the match.
The second game of the day saw Belgium prevail in the clash of the big guns as reigning champions Portugal were sent home from Euro 2020 at the last 16 stage.
The best-ranked team in world football taking on the defending champions deserved to be played out in front of a full house later in the tournament, but Roberto Martinez will be thrilled to see his side progress at the hands of a serious rival.
In a first half that offered little by way of genuine chances, Thorgan Hazard stepped up minutes before the interval to fire home what would prove to be the winner.
Portugal huffed and puffed, with an entertaining second period seeing Thibaut Courtois’ goal living a charmed life. However, it wasn’t to be for Cristiano Ronaldo and his team, with the Juventus man remaining one goal shy of breaking Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals. The question begging for answer now is: “Is this the last time the world of football will see Cristiano Ronaldo in international colors?”
Both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were withdrawn with injuries, and Martinez will be sweating their fitness ahead of Friday’s quarter-final with Italy in Munich.
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