SportsItaly Conquers Euro 2020 Favourites Belgium 2-1 To Advance To Semis

Italy Conquers Euro 2020 Favourites Belgium 2-1 To Advance To Semis


July 02, (THEWILL) – One set of the Euro 2020 semi-finals pairings was complete late on Friday when Italy secured their place with a magnificent 2-1 victory over tournament favourites Belgium in a high-calibre showdown in Munich that did not go into extra-time or penalties.

The Roberto Mancini-led Spanish side booked a semi-final clash with Spain at Wembley on Tuesday night next week, where they will look to keep up their winning run and take a 14th scalp in a row while attempting to stretch their unbeaten run which stands at 32 matches for now.

It all began with an assured display that gave the Azzurris an early goal before a quarter of an hour of football had been played. Giovanni Di Lorenzo received the ball in space and flicked it on for fellow defender Leonardo Bonucci to slam into the net but the goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee (VAR).


However, Spain it was that still opened the scoring with a minute after the hour mark. Jan Vertonghen lost possession of the ball in his area and Marco Verratti quickly fed Nicolo Barella, who took off towards goal and riffled a low effort into the far corner giving Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois no chance.

It was double the deficit for Belgium just before the interval. The goal came from a beautiful assist from goal-scorer, Barella, who laid the pass to Victor Osimhen’s teammate from Serie A side Napoli, Lorenzo Insigne. The forward took the wide pass, cut inside the left wing and buried a curling right-footer into the top-right of the Belgian net.

The Roberto Martinez-led side did not collapse after going behind the first time, but the second seemed to have subdued their determination somewhat. The Belgian side played sans colour until they were handed a lifeline in the stoppage time of the first period.

Referee Slavko Vincic did not hesitate to award Belgium a penalty when Giovanni Di Lorenzo fouled Jeremy Doku in the area. Belgian centre-forward Romelu Lukaku stepped up to the spot-kick and halved the deficit with his fourth goal of the tournament to take Belgium into the interval with the wind in their sails.

That hope for a remarkable comeback was borne in the second half by Manchester City’s playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, who was an injury doubt ahead of the quarter-final, together with the inspiring and excellent Doku. However, the Italian defense refused to buck under the pressure, despite how hard Belgium tried. Lukaku went the closest but the brilliant Leonardo Spinazzola blocked it off the line.

And it ended in favour of the Italians who handed Martinez’s Belgium only their second loss in 28 games. Yet, it was not as expected from the golden generation of Belgium’s national team. For the second consecutive competition, they will have to deal with the failure of not having lived up to their billing.

For Mancini’s Italian side, the pursuit of glory will persist as they continue to impress as an emerging force in international football.

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