La Roja face Croatia tomorrow evening in their first straight knockout match of Euro 2020, while tonight, at La Cartuja down in Seville, Belgium will play Portugal.
It’s a mouthwatering clash between two teams loaded with superstars; for Roberto Martinez, the Belgian coach, he’s got the pick of the bunch in Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne. The Catalan revealed that even if he could, he wouldn’t trade him for ex-Real Madrid man Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s captain.
“There’s a very easy answer; the effect of working with Kevin closely for five years,” Martinez said when asked why, as carried by Marca. “I’ve only seen Cristiano from a distance and as a fan of football. Kevin De Bruyne, for me, is the best playmaker in world football at the moment. He’s a special player who plays with his brain. I’ve never seen a player like him before.”
Belgium finished top of their group, beating Russia 3-0, Denmark 2-1 and Finland 2-0 to qualify for the last 16. Portugal finished third in theirs, beating Hungary 3-0, losing 4-2 to Germany and then drawing 2-2 with France.
As well as a place in the quarter final, there’s also the race for the golden boot at stake. Cristiano leads it, having notched five goals, with one assist for good measure, in the opening three games.
Five players trail him on three goals, including Belgium’s marksman Romelu Lukaku. It’s feasible that the winner of the Golden Boot will be on the pitch tonight, and it depends on who progresses as to whether it will be Cristiano or Lukaku.