Belgium take on Italy in the UEFA EURO 2020 quarter-finals in Munich on Friday 2 July at 21:00 CET.
What’s the story?
Thorgan Hazard fired Belgium into the last eight with a stunning goal to knock holders Portugal out in the round of 16. The victory came at a cost, however, as Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were both taken off nursing injuries, but the Red Devils’ fourth win and third clean sheet of the tournament mean they will be confident regardless of whether that star duo recover in time.
Italy arrive in equally buoyant mood after extending their unbeaten sequence to a national record of 31 games, although they had to dig deep to overcome Austria 2-1 in extra time in the last round. Like Belgium, the Azzurri have won every game so far at EURO 2020 – and the victors in this tie will set a new record for the longest run of victories in the competition, qualifying included.
Where to watch the game on TV
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; T. Hazard, Witsel, Tielemans, Meunier; E. Hazard/Mertens, Lukaku, Carrasco/De Bruyne
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
Alyssa Saliou, Belgium reporter: Fitness concerns over Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard have dominated the build-up, a real concern as both are integral to Belgium’s attacking game. The first half against Denmark, when neither started and the Red Devils struggled, remains fresh in mind. Against a team like Italy, Belgium will be eager to have their strongest XI available. The Azzurri create chances and, having conceded a solitary goal in 12 outings, they don’t allow too many at the other end. It should be a brilliant match.
Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter: The hard-fought win against Austria was exactly what the doctor ordered for Italy after three convincing performances in the group stage had sparked plenty of enthusiasm. For the first time in the tournament, Roberto Mancini’s men go into a game in which they are not considered favourites, which traditionally is exactly what the Azzurri welcome. Italy have now a clear identity and their approach will be unchanged, though I expect even more focus and determination.
View from the camps
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.”
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.”
More to follow.
Form guide (most recent first)