European Championships 2020
Friday 2nd July 2021
Kick off at 8pm BST
Venue: Allianz Arena
In a manner of the two teams quality coming together this match between Belgium and Italy looks like the tie of the quarter finals.
On one hand we have the emerging power of the Belgians who have been on the radar of world football for a good 5 years now. The talent that the national team has produced easily rivals their best years in the 1980s. Belgium came 3rd at the last World Cup and that included beating England in the third place play-off match. In this competition they sailed through the group stages beating Denmark 2-1 after going a goal down and of course the Danes are still in this competition.
But it was in the round of 16 where Belgium really caught the attention as they knocked out the champions Portugal by winning 1-0. France and Germany failed to keep a clean sheet against Portugal but that wasn’t the case for Belgium and they are arguably the favourites to win this competition, and it would be the nations first ever major trophy.
Italy of course are veterans of the big tournaments. Though they have won 4 World Cup’s we would have to go back to 1968 for the Italians last and to date only win at the European Championships. Though Italy have been runner’s up on two occasions in 2000 and 2012. They also reached the quarter final stage in 2016.
In the last 16 Italy were expected to make light work of Austria but the game finished 0-0 and had to go to extra time. It was in this period that Italian prevailed scoring two goals and although Austria did pull one back it never felt in doubt by that time that Italy would qualify. This match underlined perhaps what has been so fantastic about this tournament in that so called lesser nations have been able to go toe to toe with the normal favourites, and only on rare occasions have we witnessed any gulf in quality and class.
Belgium: Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne are doubts but there has been progress made on Hazard who could get the nod. As for De Bruyne he faces a late test.
Italy: The good news for the Italians is that veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini should be fit to play after missing 2 games with a thigh injury.
Belgium vs Italy Head to Head:
Italy last played Belgium in Euro 2016 when the Italians ran out 2-0 winners.
From the last 10 meetings Belgium have 2 wins over Italy- both games were friendlies.
Belgium haven’t beaten Italy in a competitive match since Euro 72.
4 of the last six meetings has seen over 2.5 goals.
Belgium vs Italy Prediction:
Italy have the better record over Belgium and with 22 games played the Italians have been victorious on 14 occasions. However the big question mark remains because Italy have not faced this brilliant Belguim side before and this will be the nations first match in five years.
There will be titanic battles all over the field and the football connoisseur will be most pleased with the Romelu Lukaku v Giorgio Chiellini one, attack v defence. The two players know each other very well from Serie A. After all it was Lukaku’s goals for Inter Milan that took the title away from Chiellin’s Juventus.
The Hazard brothers could both play and we know all about their qualities, what will be interesting is if Belgium continue to play with three at the back or switch it up with the threat of Ciro Immobile and Federico Chiesa for Italy?
Belgium are growing from tournament to tournament though and they are learning that they don’t have to win games 3-0 all the time for example. They knocked Brazil out of the last World Cup by 1-0 and did the same to Portugal in this tournament. They are a tough nut to crack, but so are Italy, so we are in for quite a memorable battle it seems.
Italy are the bookmakers favourites to win this game, though the market is open. The question is are the old guard changing for the new?
Belgium vs Italy Betting Tips:
Asian handicap (0.0 Italy) at 1.65
Goal line (Over 2) at 1.81