Italy knocked out FIFA top ranked Belgium by two goals to one, continuing their spectacular performances in the Euro 2020. The Mediterraneans scored twice in the first half with Nicolo Barella (31′) and Lorenzo Insigne (44′) while Belgium found the net with a penalty kick in the first half’s stoppage time from Romelu Lukaku (45+2′).
Roberto Mancini’s squad has been transformed to arguably the most impressive to follow, running a 32 unbeaten game-streak, breaking a record in the quarter-finals against Austria (AET 2-1) that held for 82 years. Their last defeat was from Portugal in the National league back in 2018.
Euro 2020 Italy vs Belgium game could have gone either way
In a game that could have tilted either way, the two superpowers offered displays worthy of their reputation with both sides hammering shots from inside and outside the box throughout the majority of the game. This attacking style produced a combined 24 shots for goal (Belgium 10 – Italy 14) but the imposing goal-keepers Gianluigi Donnaruma and Thibaut Courtois managed to keep the score low.
Italy dominated the first half of the game, finding the net twice, first with a shot from inside the box from Inter Milan’s midfielder Nicolo Barella and then with a magnificent solo run and then a curved shot from outside the box from Napoli’s winger, Lorenzo Insigne. Belgium struggled to hold the ball, partly due to Eden Hazard’s absence (muscle injury). Kevin De Bruyne also failed to make his presence noteworthy – injured twice in the last month – however Belgium managed to get one back with a late penalty kick from their star striker Romelu Lukaku.
The second half was not as frantic as the first one yet certainly nail-biting. The chances were less and that is because of strong defensive displays from both sides. Toby Alderweireld and Thomas Vermaelen have been Belgium’s back duo for a decade now and both knew they had to put up their best performances to go through to the next round. But it wasn’t them. It was Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, Italy’s back duo the last decade, that edged out the “tank”, Romelu Lukaku, and celebrated their country’s move to the semi-finals.
Italy will now face Spain – who knocked out Switzerland in the penalty shoot-out earlier today (1-1, Pen: 3-1) – on Tuesday July 6th at 3pmET. On the other side of the bracket, Denmark will play against the Czech Republic and England will face Ukraine for a place in the semis of Euro 2020. The games are held tomorrow at 12pmET and 3pmET respectively.
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Meunier, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Thorgan Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Jeremy Doku, Romelu Lukaku
Italy: Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, Federico Chiesa, Marco Verratti, Jorginho, Nicolo Barella, Leonardo Spinazzola, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Gianluigi Donnarumma