Sometimes there are games where you come away with that strange feeling of happiness after winning, but also a feeling of too little. And the game against Portugal is one of those. But it would also be a shame to shun your pleasure and not be happy to see our Devils reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
A final before the hour?
It was the game not to be missed - and we are talking about the spectators keen to see great football here - as many of the columnists covered the clash between defending champions Portugal and the Red Devils, first in the FIFA rankings. Despite this, at the end of the match, we will remember the pragmatism of the Belgians who will undoubtedly not have revealed all their talent, but who will have scored. Isn't that what we will remember in the end? Still, we had hoped for more goals ...
A first Portuguese opportunity
But, let us repeat, there is no question here of sulking too much about our pleasure. The first half is all in all fairly balanced as the statistics show in terms of possession of the ball. It was the Portuguese who had a first chance in front of Thibaut Courtois’s goal. And it is this same Thibaut Courtois who will masterfully repel the free kick given by Cristiano Ronaldo, one of those free kicks he knows the secret.
One shot on target, one goal
At the end of the first half, while Thibaut Courtois allowed himself to dribble 'Monsieur' Ronaldo - a gesture that will remain in the annals of football - it is Thomas Meunier who will offer a golden ball to Thorgan Hazard who, from a powerful strike, will see his floating shot going to crush the Portuguese nets. Only shot on target for the Belgians, which allows us to say that the Red Devils were 100% effective.
Portuguese pressing will fall like a breath
The more minutes passed in the second half, the more intense the Portuguese pressure became. The opportunity to highlight the excellence and selflessness of the defense of the Red Devils, in particular Thomas Vermaelen who will have been a last effective bulwark to prevent our goalkeeper from having to do more - as if it was possible - than this who's already done it.
Arbitration called into question
The most controversial actor of the match will undoubtedly be Felix Brych, German referee, who, by his inaction, has raised some serious fears for the continuation of the tournament of our Red Devils. Indeed, If the referee had given the deserved yellow card to Palhinha when he pulled the jersey of an unbalanced Romelu Lukaku over more than ten meters, undoubtedly this same Palhinha will not have badly tackled Kevin De Bruyne, causing an injury forcing the Belgian striker to stay in the locker room during the second half. Same thing when Pepe, for no apparent reason, violently hits Thorgan Hazard, a gesture that should have earned him a red card, which would undoubtedly have changed the face of the match.
Good news to finish ...
As for the good news, we could already announce that the Red Devils qualified for the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 and that this would allow them to take up a new challenge: beating Squadra Azzura in a high level competition, which never happened. But above all, the other good news is that Roberto Martinez, as we write these lines, announced that neither Kevin De Bruyne nor Eden Hazard - released late in the game with thigh pain - should put away the studs. 'here the end of the competition.
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