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Conte urges Italy to defeat Belgium despite ‘force of nature’ Lukaku

Tue 29 June 2021 | 11:41

Ex-Italy boss Antonio Conte was not satisfied with the way Belgium defeated champions Portugal in Euro 2020.

 

Antonio Conte

believes

Italy

should be careful about the "force of nature"

Romelu Lukaku

but is urging

Roberto Mancini

to deliver a victory over

Belgium

.

Italy defeated Austria 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Euros but their long run of unbeaten games ended at Wembley.

Belgium beat defending champions Portugal courtesy of Thorgan Hazard’s only strike and will face the Azzurri on Friday.

Mancini’s squad have won 12 games in a row, whereas Manchester United have not been defeated for 13 games before the battle in Bavaria.

Conte insists that Lukaku can be a danger, as the striker contributed to Inter’s Serie A title win with 24 goals in the 2020-21 season and met the target three times in four Euro 2020 matches.

But the ex-Italy manager believes the Azzurri can vanquish Belgium, who are dealing with injury concerns over Kevin De Bruyne and captain Eden Hazard.

Conte, who departed Inter when the season ended, told the 

Gazzetta dello Sport

:

"As well as the psychological aspect and the attitude: that indispensable mix of grit, concentration, desire to help, the ability to suffer and not give up.

"Each player must put themselves at the service of the group. There are three qualities that differentiate top athletes from normal athletes in modern football: strength, speed and endurance.

"I'm not even talking about the technical qualities that I take for granted. To all this, which is the basis for achieving important results, our national team has shown that it knows how to add its own expression and an idea of ​​the game that other teams have shown less, relying more on important individuals, capable of deciding a game on their own or almost. 

"This is what I have also seen some great national teams do, given as favourites. Our next opponent Belgium is a strong team individually and collectively.

"Lukaku is a force of nature, he works alone, but I discover hot water in saying that the presence or absence of De Bruyne and Hazard on Friday can change the balance.

"I have a lot of respect for the coach [Roberto] Martinez for the work he has done in recent ears, but the performance against Portugal did not fully convince me both in the attacking phase and in the defensive phase.

"But Mancini does not need advice, on a tactical level the Italian technicians know how to prepare the game like few others, Roberto [Mancini] will field a team that will be able to manage every situation."


source: SportMob