Euro 2020: Italy advances to semi-finals after clinical victory against Belgium

The victory means that the Azzurri are now unbeaten in 32 fixtures and will be looking to win their second-ever European title.

File photo - Lorenzo Insigne celebrates his goal against Belgium. (Image: Twitter/UEFA EURO 2020)

A sublime all-round performance saw Italy beat Belgium to advance to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 on Friday. The match ended 2-1 in Italy’s favor as Roberto Mancini prepares to take his side to Wembley to face Spain. Italy’s goals were scored by Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne. Romelu Lukaku scored Belgium’s only goal in the match. The victory means that the Azzurri are now unbeaten in 32 fixtures. They will be looking to win their second-ever European title. Belgium tried their best to level the scores until the final minute of the game, but there was no breaching that famed and feared Italian defence.

The Belgians might have hoped to take advantage of Italy’s aging central defenders. But rather, it was Italy that did exactly that to Belgium. The first goal came from a Jan Vertonghen mistake when he gave the ball away to Marco Verratti near the penalty area. The midfielder laid it off for Barella who ran past two Belgian defenders to power the ball in the back of the net in the 31st minute. Courtois had absolutely no chance of saving that.

After going up by a goal, the Italians started putting pressure on Belgium. It was shortly afterward that fans were treated to arguably one of the great Euro goals of all time. Insigne cut back in from the left and struck a curling effort from outside the box that flew into the top corner. The keeper had no chance of getting to that.

The match seemed done and dusted by that point. Giovanni Di Lorenzo made an unnecessary tackle on Jeremy Doku right on the stroke of half time. The penalty was awarded and Lukaku coolly slotted it past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

THE ITALIAN DEFENCE SHINES AGAIN in Euro 2020

The second half did not see any goals but definitely saw intense footballing action. The Belgians were giving it their all to try and find an equalizer. The Italians defended fiercely to keep their advantage. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci proved yet again why they are still two of the absolute elite. Despite their age, the two have proved time after time that age is just a number, and that match was no different.

Gianluigi Donnarumma also had an exceptional performance. He saved a litany of shots from the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, and he saved every single one that came at him. Lukaku had an incredible chance to level things up in the second half, but Leonardo Spinazzola made an incredible block from point blank range to deny the Inter Milan player. Spinazzola might mot have any involvement in the rest of Euro 2020 as he was stretchered off after a reported achilles tendon injury.

For Belgium, Jeremy Doku was a shining star. He put the Azzurri backline under the most pressure as he made countless searing runs down the left. It was he that won the penalty for the Belgians that Lukaku eventually converted.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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