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Hazard scores stunner to eliminate Portugal

UEFA Euro 2020: Hazard scores historic stunner to fire Belgium past Portugal

June 27, 2021 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
One strike from long range was enough to send the defending champions packing out of the European Championship.

Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction at the end perfectly summed up how Portugal and their fans felt following Sunday's elimination from the European Championship at the expense of Belgium. The defending champions had their journey truncated after conceding Thorgan Hazard's sensational screamer which ultimately proved to be the winner.

Indeed, it was not for the want of trying by Fernando Santos' men as they gave their all, hitting as many as 23 shots in the end. Both Diogo Jota and Cristiano Ronaldo had early sniffs at goal but could not convert their respective chances to anything tangible inside the first 45 minutes. They will live to rue all the missed opportunities as Thorgan Hazard will hit a thunderous strike to put Belgium in front ahead of the half-time break.

In essence, the Borussia Dortmund star registered what was his second goal in the competition, having scored against Denmark in his side's 2-1 win during the group stages. The game was the last the midfielder featured in as he was omitted from the squad that took on Finland in the last game of Group B. As a result, he became the first ever Belgian to score in consecutive EURO appearances.

Portugal pushed on for an equalizer in the second half and came close to scoring, showing quality and probably deserving more. However, Belgium did not relent and not even the injuries picked up by Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard could disrupt the balance in the side. In the end a visibly disappointed Cristiano Ronaldo removed his armband once more and aggressively smashed it into the ground (again), while heading straight for the dressing room.

With the night's result, Belgium have set themselves up for a classic quarter-final encounter with Italy. The match is scheduled to take place inside Allianz Arena on Friday, July 2.

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