Cristiano Ronaldo

Belgium v Portugal: 5 things to look for

Sunday 27 June 2021 09:00

The European Championship round of 16 is in full swing, with Saturday’s games providing plenty of talking points.

England v Germany is still to come, of course, but one of the most eye-catching ties of the round takes place in Seville tonight, as Belgium face Portugal.

As you’ll see, there are plenty of reasons for United fans to be interested in what goes down…

BRUNO BACK IN THE SIDE?

Bruno Fernandes has played a lot of football in the last 12 months and coach Fernando Santos took the opportunity to change things up in his midfield last time out, with Renato Sanches coming in to replace our talisman. The Lille man was impressive but Fernandes will surely be chomping at the bit to return. Denmark found plenty of joy between the Belgium lines in the group stage and, being the football obsessive he is, our man will surely have watched that game and spotted where he can flourish, whether it’s scoring goals himself or laying them on a plate for Cristiano Ronaldo.

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DALOT TO MAKE FULL DEBUT?

Diogo, who spent last season out on loan with AC Milan, has had an eventful summer so far. The full-back made it to the final of the Under-21s Euros, before being parachuted into the senior squad in place of Joao Cancelo after the Manchester City player tested positive for COVID-19. With Nelson Semedo injured during the 2-2 draw with France on Wednesday, he came on for his debut and could be required from the start should the Wolves defender fail to make a full recovery.

WILL RONALDO BREAK THE RECORD?

Cristiano’s vital double against France in midweek drew him level with Ali Daei, on 109 goals at the top of the all-time men’s international goalscoring charts. Clearly, at 36 and with plenty left in the tank, the former Red is going to move beyond the Iranian at some point. To do it in the knockout stages of a major tournament against one of the favourites and further strengthen his claim for this summer’s Golden Boot, would be some statement.

A CHANCE TO SEE FAMILIAR FACES

Belgium are packed full of Premier League talent, with Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld, Leicester’s Youri Tielemans and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne all playing starring roles for Roberto Martinez’s men. United fans will also be familiar with the Rode Duivels’ captain, Eden Hazard, from his time with Chelsea, while our former forward Romelu Lukaku is Belgium’s all-time leading scorer and has been one of the stand-out players of the tournament so far. Their Golden Generation has been touted for success for much of the past decade, but can they finally deliver?

AN EARLY EXIT FOR A FAVOURITE

This year’s European Championship is wide open, with all of the pre-tournament favourites still there and relative outsiders Italy and the Netherlands arguably impressing most so far. The draw is guaranteed to open up a little after this though, with either the holders or the squad many people see as being strongest going home. The winners of the tie will take on Italy or Austria in a Munich quarter-final, although Paul Pogba and David De Gea will be paying attention as France and Spain are in this half of the draw too.

Stay tuned to our Euro 2020 live blog for the latest from Seville.

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