The match was the only clash between the group leaders in the last eight of this year’s Euros, with both teams advancing with clean sheets in the group stage.
In the round of 16 knockout stage, Belgium knocked out defending champion Portugal on a goal from Hazard to win four straight matches for the first time in the history of the Euros proper. Italy, on the other hand, beat Austria 2-1 in overtime to set a new team record with a 31-game unbeaten streak.
Belgium is currently ranked 1st in the world, with a total team value of 669.4 million euros. As the current FIFA ranking of the first team, is also one of the favorites to win this European Cup. Especially in France, Germany, Portugal and other strong teams have been out, they undoubtedly also saw the hope of shocking the championship, the group stage three wins to advance smoothly.
Belgium has a strong stability, the defensive end of the three center-back system to make up for the shortcomings of the age of several defenders, while the offensive end of Lukaku, De Bruyne, Azar and other people have good strength and experience, full of tacit understanding.
Belgium’s opponent in the 1/8 final was Portugal, and the two sides had an exciting duel. Finally relying on the goal at the end of the first half, Belgium 1-0 victory over Portugal, eliminating the defending champions and entering the last eight of the European Cup.
After defeating Portugal, Belgium scored 8 goals in 4 games of this Euro and only conceded 1 goal, with a good attack and defense. Belgium has won all 4 matches so far in this Euro, and the team doesn’t seem to have faced too many challenges. But the two core figures De Bruyne and Hazard have left the field with injuries one after another, laying a potential problem for this game. The last training of Belgium before this game, these two players were both absent, and will probably not play in this game, Belgium’s offense will be greatly affected.
Italy is currently ranked 7th in the world, with a total team value of 829 million euros. Italy barely beat Austria in the 1/8 final after extra time, the momentum of the blue-clad army previously as powerful as the momentum has slowed down. However, looking back at the previous European Cup winners, they inevitably encountered setbacks on the way to the final, and in a way, Italy does have signs of competing for the title in this tournament.
Their passing style is different from Spain’s, rarely passing back in the opponent’s half, and trying to get the ball to the weakest part of the opponent’s defense first, to complete the fatal blow. Watching the Italian team play, you will feel that time flies and the pace on the field is very fast. This is a dynamic team.
Italy also won all 3 games in the group stage and performed well, scoring 7 goals and conceding 0 goals on the defensive end. And in the round of 16 the team drew 0-0 with Austria in regular time, but won 2-1 in overtime and finally managed to enter the final 8. Italy has won 9 and drawn 1 in their last 10 matches, and like Belgium, are undefeated and playing very well.
Belgium and Italy have met 22 times in history, Belgium only won 4, drew 4 and lost 14, completely at a disadvantage. The two sides have played against each other in Euro 2016, Italy 2-0 victory over Belgium, Italy has the psychological advantage, this game is Belgium’s revenge battle. According to the latest reports, Azhar has been confirmed to miss the match against Italy. And De Bruyne’s injury is more difficult to heal, the probability of missing the match with Italy. We all know how important De Bruyne is to Belgium, as evidenced in the comeback against Denmark. Without two key players, I don’t think Belgium will be able to penetrate the Italian defense.
Prediction one: Italy to Qualify
Prediction two: Total Goals – Under 2.5 Goals