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John Chapman’s Belgium v Portugal preview: It could take penalties to separate these sides

| 25.06.2021

Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Belgium throughout Euro 2020

Belgium will face Portugal in Seville in a confident mood. Nine points in the group stage and, more importantly, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne all had 90 minutes against Finland.

The draw has not been kind to several of the tournament favourites, with Italy, France and Spain other potential opponents for Belgium on the road to Wembley. That wasn’t the case in 2016. The draw opened up for Marc Wilmots’ team after the group stage – they could not play Germany, Italy or France before the final. They met Wales in the quarter-finals. Wilmots left his position shortly after that defeat.

Portugal’s style will suit Belgium and it should be an open game. De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku would cause any team problems, while Portugal have enough talented individuals – including a rejuvenated Renato Sanches – to get among the Belgian defenders.

It would not be a surprise to see Dedryk Boyata and Thomas Vermaelen stay in defence. Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Meunier, Youri Tielemans and Thorgan Hazard (if fit) all look like returning, with De Bruyne, Lukaku and Eden Hazard up front.

Looking at the two teams, I can’t separate them. I’m going for 2-2 with Belgium going through on penalties.

Check out the latest Euro 2020 odds.



John Chapman

John has been on the Belgian beat since 1999 when the Manchester Evening News wanted someone ‘local’ to report on Manchester United’s tie-up with Royal Antwerp.

From there he joined the excellent team as their ‘Man in Belgium’. This put him in the front seats as the Belgium national team embarked on its long and epic journey to the top of the FIFA rankings.

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, he worked for World Soccer, the Telegraph and When Saturday Comes, repeating the exercise in 2018. In-between, he covered the 2016 Euros in France, reporting on Belgium’s games for ESPN as well as providing content for FourFourTwo, World Soccer and others.

He has often spoken on BBC radio programmes, Sky, CNN and others, and provided information to Russian, Swedish, Finnish and American media. Interview highlights have been with a teenage Vincent Kompany, Sir Alex Ferguson on the United-Antwerp link-up and Phillipe Albert to discuss his best Belgian XI of all-time.