It’s been a fantastic tournament so far and we’re now entering the business end of the competition as the quarter-finals roll around.
England, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Denmark have all made it into latest round of the competition with highly entertaining wins and now we have four sets of incredible ties to come to see who makes it to Wembley for the semi-finals and final.
In the best tie of the round, the only team left in the Euro 2020 competition with a 100% record inside 90 minutes Belgium take on one of the favourites in Italy.
Route to the final:
Italy came through their group unscathed with 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland before a 1-0 win over Wales with a heavily rotated side. They then met Austria in the last 16 and were taken to the limit in normal time, before Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina scored in extra-time to earn a 2-1 win after 120 minutes.
Belgium were also dominant in their group with a 3-0 win over Russia, before coming from behind to beat Denmark 2-1 and then defeating Finland 2-0 in the final game. That set them up with a round of 16 clash against reigning champions Portugal, where a Thorgan Hazard screamer on the stroke of half-time earned them the win in a close fought game.
That game didn’t come without it’s problems though, as both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard picked up injuries that forced them to come off the pitch and they are now severe doubts to start the game against Italy.
That means Dries Mertens and Yannick Carrasco are likely to start for the Red Devils as they did in the opening game of the tournament, while Romelu Lukaku will continue in attack.
For Italy, they will welcome captain Giorgio Chiellini back from a minor hamstring problem that saw him miss the win over Austria. Marco Verratti is likely to retain his place in the team over Manuel Locatelli, while Chiesa is expected to get the nod over Domenico Berardi after his match-winning contribution last time out.
Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Jorginho, Barella, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; Mertens, Lukaku, T. Hazard
It should be the tie of the round and could arguably produce the game of the tournament, which would be something after the last round.
Italy are the better team in my eyes. They are more organised, better defensively and have good quality going forward too. Belgium are still a very good team though, they’re not ranked number one in the world for no reason, but they don’t look the most solid defensively.
Normally I’d give Belgium the advantage because of the added individual quality they have that could separate a tight game, but with De Bruyne and Hazard both likely to miss the game that factor is eliminated.
Because of that I think Italy will be able to keep it tight at the back and in a fascinating, tactical encounter, they’ll come away with a win thanks to a set-piece goal.
Italy 1-0 Belgium