Belgium vs Italy, Euro 2020 Prediction, Odds, Betting Tips
- Belgium and Italy are two teams nations eyeing the trophy at Euro 2020
- After a brilliant group stage, Italy had to dig deep to beat Austria in the round of 16
- Belgium came out on top against the reigning champions Portugal on Sunday
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Belgium vs Italy Odds
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|To Win the Match||Odds|
Belgium vs Italy Pick
Back Italy to beat Belgium. The Azzurri look to have more energy and zip than the Red Devils, who labored in their victory over Portugal. If they can keep Romelu Lukaku under wraps, Italy should get the win on Friday.
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How to Watch Belgium vs Italy
|Belgium vs Italy Information|
|Teams||Belgium vs Italy|
|Location||Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany|
|Time||Friday, 2 July 2021, 15:00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN|
Italy Showed Another Side to Their Game Against Austria
Italy were the team of the group phase at Euro 2020. They scored seven goals without reply and were particularly impressive against Turkey and Switzerland, both of whom were brushed aside by Roberto Mancini’s rampant team. They pressed with intelligence and intensity and were cohesive with and without the ball in a way that is seldom seen in international soccer. Having begun the competition outside the group of favorites, Italy have since been backed by many to win the trophy this summer.
That, of course, remains to be seen, but there is reason to believe Italy will come through their next test against Belgium. They were, however, made it work harder than ever by Austria in the round of 16. Playing at Wembley in London rather than the Stadio Olimpico in Rome probably had an effect, and Italy were noticeably unable to find their usual rhythm. It was Austria who created the better chances in the second half, and Mancini’s men were a little fortunate not to concede on one or two occasions.
Five substitutions, rather than the usual three, are permitted at this European Championship – and that worked in Italy’s favor last weekend. Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina were introduced from the bench, and both players found the back of the net in extra time as Italy won 2-1.
Having spent most of the group stage on the front foot, Italy had to demonstrate resolve and defensive diligence against Austria. Yet the fact his side came through a different kind of test will have pleased Mancini, as Italy showed they can win in more ways than one. That bodes well for the remainder of the competition, starting with Friday’s showdown in Munich.
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Bruised Belgium Left to Sweat on Fitness of Key Players
The same could be said for Belgium, who were far from their fluent best in attack against Portugal on Sunday. Thorgan Hazard gave Roberto Martinez’s men the lead shortly before half-time, and Belgium spent most of the second period defending their advantage. They created very few chances of note throughout the match, although they did defend astutely and largely restricted Portugal to shots from outside the box.
There were mitigating circumstances for Belgium’s lack of attacking endeavor. The pitch in Seville is the worst at Euro 2020 by a considerable distance; thankfully no more games are scheduled to be held in the Spanish city. There was also the fact that Portugal adopted a physical approach, and while Belgium did respond in kind at times, it was their players who suffered injuries. Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne both had to come off, and at the time of writing it seems highly likely that both players will miss the Italy game.
That is a huge setback. De Bruyne was one of the standout performers of the group stage, despite the fact he only started one game. The Manchester City midfielder brings drive and creativity to the team, and there is no like-for-like replacement for a man who is one of the most complete players in world soccer.
Hazard’s absence is equally as big a blow. The Real Madrid forward has endured a frustrating couple of years with various fitness issues, but he has showed signs of returning to top form this summer. Dries Mertens is a good player who looks set to replace Hazard in the team, but Belgium will miss their captain on Friday.
Italy’s Intensity Could Prove Too Much for the Belgians
With De Bruyne and Hazard both out, Belgium’s hopes of progress could depend on Lukaku. The striker, who plays his club football in Italy with Inter, has been superb over the last 12 months. Often praised for physical characteristics such as speed, strength and power, Lukaku is also brilliantly technically and the type of player who can change a game in an instant. Italy’s center-backs, Leonardo Bonucci and either Giorgio Chiellini or Francesco Acerbi, will have their hands full in trying to keep him quiet.
If they can keep Lukaku under wraps, though, Italy have a fantastic chance of winning this game. Belgium fielded a back three with a combined age of 100 against Portugal. Neither Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen nor Thomas Vermaelen is the quickest these days, and Italy’s energy and dynamism in attack should disrupt them. The full-backs, Leonardo Spinazzola and Giovanni Di Lorenzo, fly forward on the overlap, and Italy could overwhelm an experienced but not particularly mobile Belgian defense.
Mancini will instruct his players to continue pressing high up the pitch, attempting to force Belgium to play long passes forward. Lukaku is adept at holding the ball up, but Italy will look to get plenty of bodies around him to crowd the striker out. With De Bruyne and Hazard sidelined, Italy have an excellent chance to reach the quarter-finals.