As Italy prepare to face Belgium in the Euro 2020 quarter-final in Munich on Friday evening, they know that the result hinges on whether they are able to stop a player they know well: Romelu Lukaku.
Lukaku has been in scintillating form this summer, as he has picked up where he left off from his season at Inter, where his 24 strikes in Serie A were pivotal in leading the side coached by Antonio Conte to their first Scudetto in 11 years.
The build-up to the tie has been dominated by talk of the Belgian striker, with a number of Italy players pointing out the threat that he poses.
“I would have preferred Portugal,” Francesco Acerbi told UEFA.com
“As a No.9, it is more difficult to mark [Romelu] Lukaku than Cristiano [Ronaldo].
Ciro Immobile also lavished praise on the Inter striker, as a player who strikes fear into the opposition.
“We are lucky than he plays in Serie A and we know him him well,” Immobile said.
“Lukaku is scary. [Antonio] Conte has improved him a lot.”
Meanwhile, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez spoke of his delight at being able to count on Romelu Lukaku in his side.
“If I gave you 100, would you bet it on Lukaku for the Ballon d’Or?,” Martinez told Goal.com.
“I would split 50 euros for Romelu Lukaku and 50 euros for Kevin De Bruyne.
“I think both, in their roles, they’ve been the best in world football. So I hope that they can get the rewards that they deserve.”