Read Sportstar’s commentary of EURO 2020’s quarterfinal between Belgium and Italy at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
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Beyond the goals, the work Italy put in Euro 2020 win over Belgium
MATCH REPORT: EURO 2020: Italy edges past Belgium 2-1 to set up Spain semifinal
Italy continues its winning run and this time, it has defeated the number-one ranked team in the world to qualify for the Euro 2020 semifinals where it will face Spain.
Despite no goals in the second half, the qualify of football did not take a dip as Belgium tried to get back into the match and Italy tried to solidify its one-goal lead.
In the end, Italy protected its one goal lead and defeated Belgium to further advance in the tournament.
FULL TIME (Belgium 1 Italy 2)
ITS OVER!!!! ITALY HAS DONE IT. IT QUALIFIES TO THE SEMIFINALS AND WILL FACE SPACE!!
90+7 CORNER!!!! LAST CHANCE FOR BELGIUM!!
90+4′ Italy moments away from qualifying!!
90+2′ Donnarumma who seems to have injured his fingers, is up now. Play resumes.
FIVE MINUTES OF ADDED TIME!!
90′ De Bruyne will retake his freekick after his first effort was blocked by Berardi who wasn’t anywhere near 10 yards. Berardi sees a yellow
88′ Italy’s half is flooded by Belgian players right now as the home team is desperately trying to score a late equaliser.
84′ SHOT- It is Doku again as he dances inside Italy’s defence, goes past Chiellini and Jorginho and takes a shot from the edge of its penalty-area. It is high and doesn’t work Donnarumma at all.
82′ Time running out for the Belgians with just under 10 minutes remaining. It cannot complain of the lack of chances. It has had plenty.
79′ CHANGES- Italy’s Emerson Palmieri and Domenico Berardi replaces Leonardo Spinazzola and Lorenzo Insigne.
79′ Spinazzola is carried off the pitch on a stretcher. Never a nice sight.
77′ What is happening? It is Italy’s Leonardo Spinazzola who has pulled a muscled now while chasing for the ball. He immediately signals for a change. Such a shame. He has been great for the Azzuri.
74′ CHANGES- For Italy, Andrea Belotti and Bryan Cristante comes on for Ciro Immobile and Marco Verratti, who is on a yellow card. For Belgium, Nacer Chadli is replaced by Denis Praet.
72′ It seems like Chadli has pulled a muscle minutes after coming on as a sub. This doesn’t look good for Belgium.
71′ CLOSE- Nacer Chadli delivers a low cross from the left into the box, which is deflected. Lukaku and Hazard at the far post, cannot connect with the ball.?
69′ CHANGES- Nacer Chadli and Dries Mertens in for Thomas Meunier and Youri Tielemans.
69′ SHOT- Insigne asking the questions yet again as he curls a shot from the left flank after cutting outside the Belgian defence. It was a comfortable save by Courtois.
66′ WIDE- Spinazzola, one of Italy’s standout performers, receives Insigne’s cross from the left but his volley is not on target.
63′ SAVE- Barella slips a ball to Chiesa whose cross is guided away from goal by Courtois.
61′ SO CLOSE- Belgium inches away from equalising. De Bruyne with a wonderful low-cross from the left, which found Lukaku, but the forward fails to convert from point-blank range. Spinazzola with a match-saving block there. Lukaku really should have scored there. Huge chance missed.
57′ NO PENALTY- Jorginho goes down inside Belgium’s box after a challenge from De Bruyne. Italy cries penalty but referee says nothing doing.
56′ Doku is one of Belgium’s positive players. This time he goes past Verratti from the byline but his cross is a poor one. Donnarumma collects easily.
52′ CLOSE-? Great play by Italy once again. Barella collects the ball from deep and feeds Chiesa to the right. Chiesa’s cross almost finds Immobile’s boots.
47′ Italy not allowing Belgium to set defensively. Mancini’s instructions at half-time seem clear- more the same please.
45′ No half-time changes by either managers!!
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY!!!
What a half ladies and gentlemen. The match started with a nice tempo with both teams showing attacking intent.
Italy’s seemed to be on its way to victory after great goals by Barella and Insigne, but a silly penalty conceded just before half time brought Belgium back into the game as Lukaku converted from the spot.
Stay tuned for the second half!!!
HALF-TIME (BELGIUM 1 – ITALY 2)
45+2′ GOOAAALLL!! LUKAKU CONVERTS THE PENALTY TO PULL ONE BACK FOR BELGIUM!!
45′ PENALTY!!! DI LORENZO FOULS DOKU INSIDE THE BOX. A SILLY CHALLENGE TO SAY THE LEAST. Doku does well to shield the ball from Di Lorenzo but the Italian lost patience and ended up with a reckless challenge on Doku, which led to the penalty. VAR checked it and confirmed the referee’s decision.
44′ GOOOAAALLLLLLL!!!! ITALY DOUBLES IT LEAD AND THIS TIME, ITS INSIGNE WITH HIS TRADEMARK SHOT!!!? The shot had goal written over it as soon as it left Insigne’s feet. Barella passed it to Lorenzo, who cut inside Tielemans and rocketed the ball with precision to the top-right corner of Courtois’ goal.
40′ SHOT- A good effort by Federico Chiesa as he curled one with his right after getting the ball from an Italian corner. It wasn’t too far away, which was evident by Courtois’ dive at full-stretch.
36′ Despite starting out as the stronger side, it’s all Italy right now. However, stats are with Belgium as it has scored in its last 34 matches. Martinez’s men last failed to score against France in its 1-0 loss in 2018’s World Cup semifinal.
31′ GOOOAALLLLLL!!!! ITALY SCORES!! BARELLA WITH A BEAUTIFUL GOAL!!! It wasn’t a goal Belgium should have conceded as Martinez’s men reacted too slowly as Italy took a quick freekick. Barella showed great feet inside Belgium’s half, got past Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Vermaelen, and tucked his shot away past Courtois into his far post.
27′ Italy with a counter this time. Chiesa cuts in from the left and takes a shot, which deflected and spun, but thankfully ended up in Courtois’ grateful arms.
26′ SAVE- Its Donnarumma again with the save from Lukaku’s shot. Belgium countered beautifully as De Bruyne got away with a wonderful turn. He passed to Lukaku, who took a shot at the far-post after some Ronaldo-esque stepovers. Donnarumma equal to it.?
22′ GREAT SAVE- De Bruyne burst forward and blasted a shot with his left after cutting in. Donnarumma with a brilliant save at full-stretch.
20′ BOOKING- Marco Verratti sees a yellow card for his challenge on Youri Tielemans. Verratti safe from suspension for now as he isn;t one of the previously booked player for Italy.
18′ Belgium has come back hard after the goal-scare. It hasn’t posed any substantial threat but radiating a good vibe with its play. The Italians are not sitting back as well. Great game.
17′ Not even 20 minutes into the game and it has already seen a goal overturned. It is perfectly poised for a cracker of a match.
14′ GOAL OVERRULED!! VAR CHECKS THE GOAL AND FINDS CHIELLINI OFFISDE!! THE DEFENDER HAD A TOUCH OF THE BALL BEFORE IT CAME TO BONUCCI!!
13′ GOOOOAAAALLLL!!! ITALY TAKES THE LEAD!! BONUCCI SCORES!!
8′ Lukaku has already found himself in some good positions in these early moments if the match. His hold-up play, as usual, as been top-notch. Lukaku versus Chiellini will be a battle to watch out for.
5′ Nice start to the game as both teams are showing an attacking intent. That is always a goos sign.
2′ EARLY CHANCE- De Bruyne found Lukaku well who was away with a well-timed run. However, De Bruyne’s pass had a bit too much weight on it and Donnarumma collects it with ease.
12:30 p.m- WE ARE UNDERWAY!!
12:25 p.m- National anthems being sung. Kick-off moments away!!
12:05 a.m- Stat attack with 25 minutes to kick-off!!
This will be Belgium’s fifth meeting against Italy in a major tournament –all four previous meetings happened in the group stages (1954 World Cup, European championship in 1980, 200 and 2016). Italy avoided defeat in all four matches, winning three and drawing one.Belgium has won seven of its last eight matches at the Euros- the exception in this run was the quarterfinal defeat against Wales in Euro 2016.Italy has only conceded more than once in one of its last 18 matches at major tournaments (Euros/World cup) dating back to the beginning of Euro 2012. It has conceded just 13 goals across these matches with 8 clean sheets.? The only game where it conceded more than once was against Spain in the final of Euro 2012, where it suffered a 4-0 defeat.
11:50 p.m- What they said
Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach: “Italy will attack from the very first second; they will be very structured and dynamic. Every player knows his role. The game against Portugal was a game that could have been played a lot further down the line; usually players don’t play these physical and intense games at this stage of the tournament. Luckily, we have enough days to recover and prepare.”
Roberto Mancini, Italy coach:?”We will play our own game, always respecting the team we are facing because we know how good they are. There are no easy games as we have seen in this tournament. Belgium are certainly one of the best teams in the world right now but it does not change much because every game is difficult at this stage of the tournament.”
Thorgan Hazard, Belgium midfielder: “Italy will be the toughest opponent we’ve met so far. They’ve had a good run of wins and it will be a nice challenge for us to end that sequence. Their style may suit us more than Portugal. They are enterprising so we may be able to profit from the open spaces, but it definitely won’t be any easier.”
Giorgio Chiellini, Italy captain:?”We don’t need to look for motivation for these kind of games, because adrenaline will do everything as soon as we step out on the pitch. I think it will be a match between two great sides and small details will likely make all the difference. We have a great deal of respect for [Romelu] Lukaku because he had a great season at Inter and he became a dominant player. But it’s almost an insult to only talk about Lukaku when you see how many quality players that Belgium have.”
11:25 p.m- BELGIUM AND ITALY LINEUPS STARTING XI!!
Belgium (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, T.Hazard; De Bruyne, Doku, Lukaku
Subs: Thomas Kaminski, Matz Sels, Dedryck Boyata, Yannick Carrasco, Dries Mertens, Jason Denayer, Leander Dendoncker, Nacer Chadli, Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi, Leandro Trossard, Dennis Praet
Coach: Roberto Martinez
Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Insigne, Immobile
Subs: Salvatore Sirigu, Alex Meret, Manuel Locatelli, Andrea Belotti, Domenico Berardi, Matteo Pessina, Emerson, Francesco Acerbi, Bryan Cristante, Federico Bernardeschi, Alessandro Bastoni, Rafael Toloi
Coach: Roberto Mancini
11:00 p.m- Form guide of Belgium and Italy (Last five matches)
10:45 p.m- Predicted XI, injury doubts and suspension scenarios: Belgium and Italy
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier?, Witsel, Tielemans, ?T. Hazard; De Bruyne, Lukaku, Carrasco?
Doubtful: E. Hazard, De Bruyne
Misses next match if booked: Alderweireld, T. Hazard, Vermaelen
Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne?
Misses next match if booked: Barella, Di Lorenzo, Pessina
Belgium’s leading scorer at the European Championship is no stranger to Italy’s veteran defenders.
They all play in Serie A.
Romelu Lukaku will likely be the main attacking threat when?Belgium takes on Italy in Munich on Friday in the Euro 2020 quarterfinals. The Inter Milan forward has scored three goals in his team’s four victories so far.
READ: Euro 2020: We play our own game against Belgium, says Mancini
And with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard both doubtful for the game, Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini and teammate Leonardo Bonucci — both defenders at Juventus — will know just who to focus on.
“It’s a quarterfinal. It will be decided on small details,” Belgium midfielder Youri Tielemans said. “I think one phase can turn the game in our favour, or against us. We have to be concentrated from the first minute and finish strongly. It’s going to be very, very tough, very, very physical.”
READ:?EURO 2020: De Bruyne, Hazard absent from Belgium training ahead of Italy clash
Belgium, which is trying to win its first major tournament three years after a third-place finish at the World Cup, hasn’t lost in 13 games and is the top-ranked team in the world. The Italians haven’t been beaten in a national team record 31 matches, though they were taken to extra time by Austria in the round of 16.
“It’s a nice challenge to beat them after a run of 31 unbeaten games. I estimate the odds 50-50,” said Belgium midfielder Thorgan Hazard, Eden’s younger brother and the scorer of the only goal in the team’s 1-0 victory over Portugal in the last round. “It’s an advantage that we didn’t have to play extra time.”
Both teams won all three of their group matches, and with France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany all eliminated from Euro 2020, the winner in Munich will certainly be among the favourites for the title.
“We must continue to believe in ourselves,” Italy midfielder Jorginho said. “The most serious mistake would be to think that we’ve already done something great.”
READ:?EURO 2020: Belgium midfielder Tielemans still full of energy despite long season
Neither De Bruyne nor Eden Hazard’s injury worries are new. De Bruyne fractured his nose and eye socket in a collision with Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger while playing for Manchester City in the Champions League final, but the latest problem is a bruised left ankle sustained after a tackle from Portugal midfielder Jo?o Palhinha in the round of 16.
“I don’t know if De Bruyne will play in the game, but he’s definitely a player who makes the difference, with a higher-than-average football intelligence,” said Jorginho, a Chelsea midfielder who plays against De Bruyne in the Premier League.
The injury-prone Hazard was also taken off early against Portugal with a hamstring issue. Belgium coach Roberto Martínez said Monday that both Hazard and De Bruyne were “50-50” for Friday’s game.
Belgium has only beaten Italy once before in a competitive game — in the 1972 European Championship quarterfinals.
Belgium and Italy- Full Squads
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg)
Defenders: Jan Vertonghen (Benfica), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe)
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund), Nacer Chadli (Istanbul Basaksehir), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), , Thomas Meunier (Dortmund), Dennis Praet (Leicester), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Dortmund)
Forwards: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)
Defenders: Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter),Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta)
Midfielders: Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Nicolo Barella (Inter), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain), Gaetano Castrovilli (Fiorentina)
Forwards: Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)
WHERE TO WATCH UEFA EURO 2020 LIVE IN INDIA?
Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN)?will telecast UEFA EURO 2020 in English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
Fans can watch the action unfold LIVE on?SONY TEN 2,?SONY TEN 3,?SONY SIX?and?SONY TEN 4?channels.
The matches are also available for live streaming on?SonyLIV?and?JioTV.