The most contentious quarterfinal match at EURO 2020 figures to be the clash between Italy and Belgium. These countries were among the favorites ahead of the competition, and they both have their eyes set on the grand prize. Italy and Belgium both played very well in the Group Stage and survived scares in the Round of 16. The winner of this match will likely be favored over either Spain or Switzerland in the semifinals and stand a great chance of making it to the finals.
Don't miss a second of EURO 2020. This match will be held at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, July 2, 2021. Catch every moment of the match live on ESPN.
UEFA EURO 2020 Odds at BookMaker.eu
Belgium is the sentimental choice for many neutral fans at this tournament. Although there have been some quality teams in the past, no Belgium team has ever won a European Championship or a World Cup. This could be their last opportunity to win a major competition with their Golden Generation, and they are the only strong contender that has yet to claim a title.
Roberto Martinez’s side may be short-handed in this match though. Both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are questionable after sustaining injuries in Belgium’s 1-0 win over Portugal in the Round of 16. De Bruyne sustained an ankle injury and was subbed off in the last match, and Hazard has been dealing with ankle and hamstring issues.
De Bruyne and Hazard are two of the best midfield playmakers in the world when at full strength, so this is a potentially devastating blow to Belgium. However, Thorgan Hazard has been superb in this tournament, and Axel Witsel has looked very competent in the midfield.
The key to this match might be Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku has led Belgium with three goals at these Euros. He is a do-it-all forward that can create on his own, and he will be asked to do more of that against Italy.
It’s been a pleasure to watch Italy evolve into something more fluid and fun. The days of the Azzurri playing slow, plodding football seem to be over, and a convincing win on Friday would ensconce this philosophy as the new way forward for Italy.
Ciro Immobile, Manual Locatelli, and Matteo Passina all have two goals for the Italians. Immobile has been extremely dangerous throughout this tournament, and he is probably the most likely goal scorer on the roster with his clinical finishes.
This team plays more fluid than Italian teams of the past. There is more ball movement in the midfield, and that has opened up space for Italy. Jorginho, Nicolo Barella, and Marco Verratti are all playing very well, and Italy is hoping that its talisman will return to the lineup.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini was injured in the Group Stage, and he is considered questionable to play in this match. Originally, it seemed doubtful, but the team has been more encouraged with his progress over the last two days. That would be a big boost, as he is the club’s leader as a veteran center back,
Matchup to Watch
Lukaku might have to come up with something extraordinary here for Belgium to advance. He is probably going to be asked to do a lot more than usual with some of the country’s stars on the sidelines, and the pressure is on his shoulders. Italy are not as strong in defense as we have seen in the past, so there may be gaps.
Free EURO 2020 Betting Pick
If Belgium were fully healthy, they would be the play. However, the injuries to Hazard and De Bruyne are simply too much to overcome.
EURO 2020 Odds: Italy 3, Belgium 1
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