Portugal - Belgium: Two teams standing together against terror

A string of key players will be missing from both sides on what is set to be an emotional match in Portugal.

Portugal - Belgium: Two teams standing together against terror
Football fans around the world have been remembering and supporting those caught up in the terror attacks (photo: Getty Images)

Portugal against Belgium represents more than just football as the two teams meet in the rearranged fixture on Tuesday evening, just a week after the Brussels terror attacks.

A chance to shine for Belgium's fringe players

As was the case when France played England at Wembley just a few months ago after the Paris terror attacks, two nations will be standing shoulder to shoulder as they remember those that tragically lost their lives last week. Belgium were due to play Spain on Friday evening, but the match was canceled in respect of the country, whilst the fixture against Portugal was moved away from Belgium as the ongoing terror fear continues.

Belgium, who boast a number of players in the Premier League, are currently rated as the best team in the world on FIFA's controversial ranking table. Such a stature heaps pressure on a nation that went into World Cup 2014 as the bright young underdogs. Those players will now be expected to perform in the summer as Belgium go in search of their first major trophy. Yet coach Marc Wilmots will be forced to play an experimental team on Tuesday night, with the likes of Christian Benteke, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Divock Origi and Jan Vertonghen all unavailable.

Wilmots could also be without Dries Mertens and Moussa Dembele as his team prepare to mount a serious Euro 2016 challenge in the summer. Yet the former Belgian star has hinted the game is an opportunity "for other players to prove themselves".

Problems for Portugal

Portugal have problems of their own with key defender Ricardo Carvalho suffering from flu. They suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Bulgaria on Friday night with Cristiano Ronaldo, who could be rested ahead of El Clasico next weekend, missing a penalty as they suffered the second defeat in three games.

Both teams will be using the match to prepare for a summer in France where they will be competing with Europe's finest countries to win Euro 2016. Friday's defeat for Portugal and Belgium's injury crisis leaves both managers with concerns ahead of the tournament, as the former have restless natives and the latter a lack of players to fine tune and experiment with. 

Belgium have not beaten Portugal for 26 years, but go into the match as the form team with eight wins from their last nine. Yet football will be secondary as the two teams unite against terror on a night of remembrance and reminiscence.