We’ve reached the quarter-finals of the EURO 2020, and with big-hitters like France, Portugal, Netherlands and Germany already out, there’s a big chance for the nation’s that are still left. The winner in this game will have a good opportunity of reaching the final, and there’s all to play for as this game kicks off in Munich on Friday night.
The UEFA Euro 2020 is back with a series of intriguing quarterfinals this weekend as Italy take on Belgium at the Allianz Arena on Friday. Both teams have been thoroughly impressive so far and will need to lay down a marker in this fixture.
Belgium have peaked at just the right time under Roberto Martinez and Euro 2020 could represent one of their Golden Generation’s last shots at glory. The Red Devils edged Portugal to a 1-0 victory in their previous game and will have to be equally robust in this match.
Italy were given a run for their money against Austria last week and do have a few issues to resolve ahead of this game. The Azzurri are on an exceptional winning streak at the moment and have a point to prove against Belgium this weekend.
Form Guide: Belgium
Thorgan Hazard’s stunning first-half strike ended Portugal’s reign as European champions in Seville last Sunday, as a bruised but buoyant Belgium squad confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of a fourth successive major tournament.
Shortly before the interval, Hazard junior broke the deadlock with his fourth goal in seven international appearances this year, but coach Roberto Martinez lost both Kevin De Bruyne and Thorgan’s brother Eden Hazard to injury during a hard-fought second period, as goalkeeper Thibault Courtois made a series of saves to seal progress.
Belgium have now won each of their last 14 matches throughout the qualifiers and these finals; equaling the record set by Germany and last-eight opponents Italy. That mark must fall in Bavaria, as both nations seek a 15th successive victory in the competition – after following a perfect streak in qualifying with four wins from four so far.
In all, the Red Devils have also scored in every one of their last 34 games, while winning 23 of their last 27. Such form, befitting the top-ranked nation in the world, saw them dominate Group B – with a 3-0 success against Russia being followed by comeback victory versus an emotional Denmark and then a regulation win over debutants Finland.
Form Guide: Italy
Italy were one of the top four of five favourites to win Euro 2020 but following their performances during the group stage, they suddenly emerged as the dark horses for the title. Italy glided through their group without conceding a single goal but almost crash back down to earth against Austria in the last 16. That game finished goalless after 90-minutes but Austria appeared to have won the game, only for Arnautović’s goal to be ruled out for offside. In extra-time, substitute Chiesa put Italy in front and Pessina grabbed a second 10-minutes later. Austria pulled a goal back and ended Italy’s clean sheets run but Mancini’s men saw out the victory. Many still claim they are yet to face a ‘big’ side and this game should be a proper test of their character.
How the match could go
Despite all of the attacking talent on display at both ends, it’s likely going to be a game of fine margins. Defences have certainly been at the forefront throughout Euro 2020, and these two teams are no exception to that, conceding just one goal in normal time between them so far. Belgium shut up shop against Portugal, and while Italy have been fairly adventurous, particularly in the group stage, they remain formidable at the back. It might not be the ‘better’ side that wins but the more clinical side in front of goal.
Betting Tips and Predictions
For some reason, the bookies have Italy as favorites for this one. For starters, it might be because of the fact that Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne might not be fit enough to start the game. However, Belgium still boast ample quality replacement in every department. We should also remember that the bookies have underestimated Belgium in every game so far, bar the one against Finland. Italy have been impressive so far but their quality will be tested in good regard against the number one side in the world. In reality, the game can go either way. Bet9ja and Bet365 have 1.36 odds while 1xbet have 1.41.
Under 2.5 goals
Belgium won 1-0 against Portugal while Italy played out a 0-0 draw after the first full 90 minutes against Austria, before winning it on extra time. Both teams have been very solid in their defending, and the feeling is that both teams will be careful and build from an organized back in this game as well. We’re expecting an electric match, but maybe not the one where goals are coming flying like we’ve seen in some of the games lately. There is a potential it could go the other way but this seems more likely on paper. Bet9ja have 1.56 odds, Bet365 have 1.57 and 1xbet have 1.64.
Both teams to score: NO
Although Italy blew away their opponents in the opening two games of Euro 2020, the past two matches have shown them to slow down slightly. Excluding extra-time, they have managed just one goal in 180 minutes, while Belgium also struggled against better opposition last time out. This game will be won on the defence, and although both sides have conceded just once in their four matches, Italy’s came in the final five minutes of extra-time against Austria, when the tie was all-but over. This points to the fact that scoring first might be crucial but one side could likely shut out the other, we believe. Bet9ja and 1xbet have 1.70 odds while Bet365 have 1.72.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Belgium)
With three goals to his name so far, he has been one of the standout strikers in the competition. Earlier this week, Italy midfielder Matteo Pessina described the big Belgian star as “the best striker in the world”, and the Inter forward’s strike against Finland was a record-extending 63rd for his country. Lukaku leads the line for the most experienced squad at these Euros; a group which contains five players with 100 caps or more – 15 of whom played at Euro 2016, while 18 featured at the last World Cup. He has been prolific so far and he’ll be eager to prove his worth against one of the standout teams in the competition so far. Bet365 have 2.62 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have 3.15.
He was the star of the day against Portugal with a brilliant strike and his lone goal saw Belgium knock out the reigning champions. With his brother, Eden, and Kevin de Bruyne still massive doubts, it is likely Thorgan will get another chance to impress and he could come as a value bet to get on the score-sheet. Bet9ja have 7.00 odds for him to score while Bet365 have 8.00.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Italy)
Ciro Immobile became only the third member of the 26-man squad to reach a half-century of caps earlier in the competition, and the Lazio sharpshooter is also La Nazionale’s top active scorer, having found the net in five of his last six starts to take his international tally to a modest 15. With two goals so far, he is among Italy’s top scorers and he is a top shout to possibly add more to his tally. Bet365 have 2.87 odds while Bet9ja have 3.25.
Lorenzo Insigne scored in the opening game against Turkey and the Napoli forward looks like a great option to find the net here. Insigne has had 11 shots in his three games at the Euros and he’s had more shots on target than anyone in this Italy side. The tricky winger loves to cut inside and when you consider that Belgium have defensively poor wing-backs and an ageing back three Insigne seems perfectly positioned to trouble them. Bet365 have 3.60 odds while Bet9ja have 3.65.
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