Reigning champions Portugal were knocked out of the European Championship last night.

They went down 1-0 to Belgium, who eliminated them thanks to a stunning Thorgan Hazard strike.

That means Wolves’ Portuguese contingent won’t be coming back to Molineux as European champions.

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And it also means that the man who is apparently their top summer target also gets a bit more rest this summer.

Belgium v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16
(Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Joao Palhinha anchored the midfield last night, brought into the team from the start having come on at half time against France on Wednesday.

He certainly didn’t look out of place among the elite midfielders on show.

His passing was secure, completing 94.6 per cent as per WhoScored. He kept Portugal ticking over in the middle of the pitch.

Fernando Santos’ side could maybe have showed more ambition, but Palhinha did what he was asked, kept the ball moving with simple passes and didn’t make many silly errors.

He was also keen to put a foot in, making six tackles, including one on Kevin de Bruyne which earned him a booking.


He also got away with a shirt tug on Romelu Lukaku, which showed he’s not scared to do the ‘dark arts’ that every holding midfielder needs.

Palhinha also tried to get involved at the other end, taking four shots, but none of them were on target as his radar was off on the night.

That’s not what he’s in the team for, and it showed. But he was trying to liven up a safety-first Portugal performance with some attempts on goal.


Would he be a good signing for Wolves?

He looks like a holding midfielder with a bit of bite, married with decent ability on the ball.

It’s not easy to anchor midfield in a game of such high quality and tension but he looked at home.

As mentioned above, he’s not worried about making a challenge or pulling a shirt if he is caught out of possession and you’d think that’d lend itself well to English football.

For a first start of the tournament, Palhinha will be pleased with his individual performance even if the agony of the team being eliminated still stings most today. Portugal’s exit certainly wasn’t because he played badly.

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