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Cristiano Ronaldo (left) celebrates with teammates. Alamy Stock Photo

Belgium's signs of life while Portugal cruise into Euro 2024 knockout stages

Elsewhere in Group F, Patrick Schick chested home an equaliser to earn the Czech Republic a 1-1 draw against debutants Georgia.

The 42 is the home of quality journalism for passionate Irish sports fans, bringing you closer to the stories that matter through insightful analysis and sharp sportswriting.

BELGIUM KICK-STARTED their Euro 2024 campaign with a vital 2-0 win over Romania in Group E.

The Red Devils were stunned by Slovakia in the opening game but Youri Tielemans’ strike after 73 seconds and Kevin De Bruyne’s second-half effort got them up and running.

It leaves Group E finely poised, with all four teams on three points after two games, with Belgium topping the table ahead of their game with Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, Turkey dedender Samet Akaydin scored a calamitous own goal as Portugal qualified for the knockout stages by clinching top spot in Group F with a comfortable 3-0 victory in Dortmund.

The Fenerbahce centre-back inexplicably passed the ball beyond goalkeeper Altay Bayindir and into the unguarded net under little pressure after an attack involving Joao Cancelo and Cristiano Ronaldo broke down.

Bernardo Silva’s first goal at a major international tournament opened the scoring for the Euro 2016 champions at Westfalenstadion before Ronaldo teed up Bruno Fernandes for the third.

Portugal returned to action after launching their campaign with a last-gasp 2-1 comeback win over Czech Republic, while Turkey also had an opportunity to book a place in the last 16 following a 3-1 success against Georgia.

Elsewhere in Group F, Patrick Schick chested home an equaliser to earn the Czech Republic a 1-1 draw against debutants Georgia that leaves both teams in a tricky spot.

Georgia coach Willy Sagnol said his players’ disappointment at their opening defeat showed how far his team has come, and they gave everything in Hamburg to earn their first Euros point.

Goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made a string of superb saves to keep his team in the game and they took the lead just before the break through Georges Mikautadze’s penalty.

However Schick reprised his Euro 2020 goalscoring heroics with an improvised finish to leave honours even at the end of a pulsating clash.

Georgia had a glorious chance right at the end of the match to win the game but at the end of a three-on-one break, substitute Saba Lobjanidze blazed over with just the goalkeeper to beat.

The 42′s award-winning team produces original content that you won’t find anywhere else: on GAA, League of Ireland, women’s sport and boxing, as well as our game-changing rugby coverage, all with an Irish eye.

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