Belgium will encounter Italy on Friday night at Allianz Arena in the quarter-final of Euro 2020.
The Red Devils have reached this far after winning all three of their group games. And thus, also beating the reigning champions Portugal in the round of 16 stage.
On the other hand, Italy have impressed the world with their exciting football. After finishing the group phase with three wins in three, the Azzurri required extra time to beat Austria to reach the quarter-final.
Belgium vs Italy Preview:
Belgium will be full of confidence coming into the quarter-finals. Last time around, they were knocked out at this stage by Wales, despite leading early in the game.
The worrying news for Roberto Martínez will be the fitness issues of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. Both had to be substituted in the last game against Portugal after sustaining injury in the ankle and hamstring respectively.
The Red Devils are well known for their attacking prowess but showed defensive solidity in the last game. They will have to display a similar performance against this Italian side.
Italy on the other hand will be looking to show their qualities in this European Championship, especially after failing to qualify for World Cup 2018. Mancini’s side have shown their devastating nature going forward as well as solidity at the back.
The biggest headache for the Italian boss will be to structure his midfield. Marco Verratti and Nicolo Barella started in the previous game but Italy looked better when Manuel Locatelli and Matteo Pessina entered the field and the latter even found the back of the net in two successive matches.
Belgium form (all competitions):D-W-W-W-W-W
Italy form (all competitions): W-W-W-W-W-W
The two most important personnel of Belgium Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are in doubt ahead of the game against Italy. Moreover, the Manchester City man suffered a sprain on the ankle and the Real Madrid man picked up a muscle injury.
So, both will be definitely out of the starting eleven, might start on the bench but are unlikely to be able to take any part in the game. Following this Romelu Lukaku will remain the only talisman who should take big responsibility to take his team into the semifinal stage.
Italy also have two injuries in their squad. Giorgio Chiellini and Alessandro Florenzi are expected to remain sidelined for this encounter. It will be interesting to see who will start in midfield alongside Jorginho. After making a big impact in the last game it is expected to see Locatelli returning to the starting eleven.
Belgium possible starting lineup(3-4-2-1):
Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; T. Hazard, Witsel, Tielemans, Meunier; Mertens, Lukaku, Carrasco
Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Spinazzola; Locatelli, Jorginho, Verratti; Berardi, Immobile, Insigne
Belgium 1-2 Italy
Belgium will suffer creatively against Italy in the final third after the injuries to Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. So, it should be the night for Mancini’s side to reach the Semi-final of Euro 2020.