Portugal boss Santos bemoans Belgium's head-start for last-16 clash

Portugal boss Fernando Santos bemoans Belgium’s 48-hour head-start in preparations for last-16 tie… but insists sweltering heat in Seville will be an advantage for Cristiano Ronaldo and Co

  • Portugal scraped into the last-16 of Euro 2020 with a 2-2 draw against France 
  • Third place in Group F means they have to face world No.1s Belgium next 
  • The clash will also take place on Sunday, giving them only two days to prepare 
  • Portugal coach Fernando Santos has admitted it’ll be tough to get player ready 

Fernando Santos has admitted Portugal are already playing catch-up with Belgium, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co’s last-16 opponents two days ahead in their recovery. 

Portugal occupied every position in the group during their 2-2 draw with France on a dramatic night, but eventually finished third and consequently must will take on Roberto Martinez’s men in Sevilla on Sunday.

The round of 16 clash will give Ronaldo the chance to become the record goalscorer at international level after he equalled Iran’s Ali Daei’s tally of 109 with a brace against France.

Portugal face a quick turnaround between their clash with France and last-16 Belgium face-off 

Fernando Santos is concerned over Roberto Martinez’s side getting a head start on his team 

Santos struggled to hide his frustration at a quick turnaround, especially with Belgium concluding their group on Monday.  

‘Resting is very important. We will have to mitigate this 48-hour difference,’ he said.

‘We want to recuperate the players and have them fresh for the next match. I thought for what they played today, they have managed to recharge their mental batteries and right now we have to eliminate the fatigue.

‘We are going to face very high temperatures but this is not a handicap for us. We are going to study our opponent. 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s double from the penalty spot was only enough for a draw with France 

‘We already know them but we will see what changed and we will prepare this match with our idea to progress.’

A Ronaldo double from the penalty spot was cancelled out by two goals from his former Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema on Wednesday, as a draw for France was enough to secure top-spot in Group F. 

Belgium are looking scary this summer, with three wins from three in the group phase as their talented attack fired-in seven goals.  

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