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Euro 2020: Belgium vs. Italy match preview- team news, lineups

Fri 02 July 2021 | 9:30

Belgium face Italy in the UEFA EURO 2020 quarter-finals in Munich on Friday. Follow along for Belgium vs. Italy live stream online, prediction, lineups preview and score updates of the Euro 2020.

The UEFA Euro 2020 is back with a series of intriguing quarterfinals this weekend as

Italy

take on Belgium on Friday. Neither side has a home advantage as the tie is taking place at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Two continental heavyweights go head-to-head on Friday night, as Belgium lock horns with Italy in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals. Both teams have been thoroughly impressive so far and will need to win this fixture.

The two teams face each other while the Belgians currently ranked the world's number one side, having not lost this year, while the Azzurri celebrated a new national record of 31 games unbeaten in the previous round.

Belgium

just edged out European champions Portugal in an edgy 1-0 win, while Italy needed extra time to finally defeat Austria, who also saw a late goal ruled out in normal time.

Belgium vs. Italy match preview

Belgium knocked out the European Champions Portugal in the last 16 and now they have their sites set on ending the tournament for another of the Euro 2020 favorites.

Italy dominated during the group stage but needed extra time to beat

Austria

and now they face their toughest test of the tournament so far. The winner of the tie will play Switzerland or Spain in the semi-final at Wembley on Tuesday 6 July.

Belgium

Thorgan Hazard

's stunning first-half strike ended Portugal's reign as European champions in Seville last Sunday, and the Belgium squad confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of a fourth successive major tournament.

Hazard junior broke the deadlock with his fourth goal in seven international appearances this year, but coach Roberto Martinez lost both Kevin De Bruyne and Thorgan's brother

Eden Hazard

to injury during a hard-fought second period, as goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made a series of saves to seal progress.

Belgium have won each of their last 14 matches throughout the qualifiers and these finals; equaling the record set by Germany and last-eight opponents Italy. That mark must fall in Bavaria, as both nations seek a 15th successive victory in the competition, following a perfect streak in qualifying with four wins from four so far.

The Red Devils have also scored in every one of their last 34 games, while winning 23 of their last 27. Such form saw them dominate Group B with a 3-0 success against Russia being followed by comeback victory versus an emotional Denmark and then a regulation win over debutants Finland.

Golden Boot-contender

Romelu Lukaku

was among the scorers in that group-stage stroll, whom was described as "the best striker in the world" by the Italian midfielder Matteo Pessina.

The Inter forward's strike against Finland was a record-extending 63rd for his country. Lukaku leads the line for the most experienced squad at these Euros; a group which contains five players with 100 caps or more, 15 of whom played at Euro 2016, while 18 featured at the last World Cup.

Italy

After an extraordinary streak of group phase performances, it was left to substitutes

Federico Chiesa

and Matteo Pessina to send Italy into the last eight, with their extra-time strikes at Wembley edging out a determined Austria side last week.

Chiesa demonstrated a clinical finish from Leonardo Spinazzola's cross, before fellow replacement Pessina pounced to fire in the second.

Only a late addition to Italy's squad following the withdrawal of injured Stefano Sensi, the Atalanta midfielder's strike was the 100th of this year's tournament and his fourth in as many games for the national side.

That late flurry not only saved the skins of Mancini's much-fancied team, but also took them onto nine goals from four games so far - already matching their previous highest total at any single finals; set at Euro 2000.

They have been defensively sound too, as though Sasa Kalajdzic's goal ended Italy's run of 11 games without conceding, their last defeat came against Portugal - as long ago as September 2018.

Ciro Immobile

became only the third member of the 26-man squad to reach a half-century of caps earlier in the competition, and the Lazio sharpshooter is also La Nazionale's top active scorer, having found the net in five of his last six starts to take his international tally to a modest 15.

After a 12th win in a row last time out, this current Italy squad - who cruised through as winners of Group A - are facing growing expectation that they can lift the trophy for the first time since triumphing on home soil at the 1968 event.

The Azzurri have been runners-up twice in the intervening years - in both 2000 and 2012 - but to even reach this year's decider, Mancini's men must first beat Belgium, then either Switzerland or Spain in the semi-finals.

Form analysis

Both

Kevin De Bruyne

and Eden Hazard were forced to come off with injuries against Portugal, so Belgium could be without two integral players. Roberto Martinez confirmed that neither has sustained a serious injury, as first feared. Scans showed that Hazard has a muscular issue and De Bruyne an ankle sprain, but they will not be fully fit for Friday's quarter-final clash.

Every one of their 24 outfield players has seen action at some point in Belgium's first four matches, with only the back-up goalkeepers yet to take the field. One of those reserve stoppers,

Simon Mignolet

, was forced to withdraw from the squad due to a knee injury sustained in the warm-up last week, so Thomas Kaminski has now joined the camp as cover.

Timothy Castagne was also ruled out of action after sustaining facial fractures in the opening match, so the wing-backs are set to remain the same - with Thomas Meunier and Thorgan Hazard occupying the flanks; Axel Witsel and Youri Tielemans should continue in the centre.

Belgium possible starting lineup:

Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; T. Hazard, Witsel, Tielemans, Meunier; Mertens, Lukaku, Carrasco

The Italians have selection issues of a different kind, as Roberto Mancini must decide whether to promote previous goalscorers

Matteo Pessina

and Manuel Locatelli to the starting XI.

Marco Verratti has confirmed his recovery from an ongoing knee problem with two fine performances, but Nicolo Barella's place is apparently in jeopardy.

Giorgio Chiellini trained separately from the rest of the squad last week because of a thigh injury, while full-back

Alessandro Florenzi

could only undertake individual gym work, but both have been back in training at the Azzurri's Coverciano headquarters and could start.

Napoli's Giovanni Di Lorenzo must, therefore, hope to keep his place ahead of Florenzi on the right side of the back four, with Francesco Acerbi missing out on continuing his partnership with Leonardo Bonucci in the centre.

Mancini is expected to attack the shortage of pace at the heart of Belgium's defence by bringing in Federico Chiesa for Domenico Berardi on the right, with the exciting forward mirroring Leonardo Spinazzola's surging runs on the opposite wing.

Italy possible starting lineup: Donnarumma;

Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne

Belgium vs. Italy - Head-to-head in all competitions

13 June 2016 – Belgium 0-2 Italy – Euro 2016

13 November 2015 – Belgium 3-1 Italy – Friendly

30 May 2008 – Italy 3-1 Belgium – Friendly

14 June 2000 – Belgium 0-2 Italy – Euro 2000

13 November 1999 – Italy 1-3 Belgium – Friendly

Italy have an excellent record against Belgium and have won 14 out of a total of 23 matches played between the two teams. Belgium have managed only five victories against Italy and will need to improve their record in this fixture.

The previous meeting between the two teams took place at Euro 2016 and ended in a 2-0 victory for Italy. Belgium were surprisingly poor on the day and will need to step up in this match.

Prediction

While many websites offer different predictions and betting tips, we state here that this match is an incredibly difficult one to call, as moments of individual quality are likely to be all that separates the teams over the course of 90 minutes and possibly extra time!

Italy may progress to the semi-finals, however, as Belgium are diminished by injuries sustained in the last 16 and the Azzurri have attacking assets that can decide any game with a flash of inspiration.

Belgium vs. Italy Referees

Slovenia's Slavko Vincic will referee Italy's Euros quarterfinal with Belgium Friday, UEFA said Wednesday. The assistant refs will also be Slovenes, Tomaz Klancnik and Andraz Kovacic, while the fourth man will be Argentina Fernando Rapallini.

Viewing information

  • Date: Friday, 2 July 2021

  • Time: 20:00 UK/ 21:00 CET

  • Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

  • TV: BBC One / BBC iPlayer

  • Odds: Belgium +240; Draw +200 Italy; +140

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