Italy knocks out Belgium from Euro 2020

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Italy have continued their invincible run in the ongoing Euro 2020 by beating Belgium 2-1 to knock them out of the tournament on Friday, July 2, 2021.

The win has qualified Italy for the semi-finals of the European Championship and has extended their unbeaten run to 32 games (27 win and 5 draws). So far, Italy have won 13 games in a row.

In the thrilling quarter-finals encounter, Italy started to show their superiority over Belgium early in the game. Their high-pressing football paid off in the 31st minute when Nicolo Barella scored the first goal of the match.

In the 44th minute, Italy showed how much they wanted to win the game by doubling their lead through the boots of Lorenzo Insigne.

Seconds later, Belgium who had Kevin De Bruyne overseeing things in the midfield began to fight back until they were able to get a penalty before the first half ended.

Belgium’s talisman, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to take the spot-kick and as expected, he did not make any mistake. He made it 2-1 in the additional 2nd minute of the first half.

The second half was a different ball game. Belgium tried as much as they could to get back into the game but the Italian defense was too solid for the Belgian attack to penetrate. Hence, the game ended 2-1 in favor of Italy.

Italy knocks out Belgium from Euro 2020
Italian players celebrate over Belgium on Tuesday night.

This marked the 5th time Italy have met Belgium in a major tournament, Italy won four of the meetings and drew once which means that Belgium have never gotten the best of the Italian in the history of football.

Italy knocks out Belgium from Euro 2020
Romelu Lukaku of Belgium missed the biggest chance in the game in the 61st minute.

After the game, the coach of Belgium, Roberto Martinez described the outcome of the match as disappointing because he felt his team should have gone farther in the tournament.

“The feelings are what you can imagine, really – sadness and disappointment – because I do not think these players deserve to be out of this tournament,” he said.

“They have done an incredible job to be prepared to be ready to go step-by-step every day, from the beginning of the tournament. And unfortunately, today (Friday), we faced a very good side (Italy). I thought it was two very good teams in this knockout phase. And, unfortunately, the margins did not go in our favor.”

While the head coach of Italy, Roberto Mancini said Italy needed a great performance to beat a team like Belgium that are ranked the best team in the world by FIFA.

“I don’t think we suffered too much in any moment of the game”, he said. “To beat a team like Belgium you need a great performance by everybody and this is exactly what happened today.

“We scored two and we could have scored more. I think the victory is fully deserved. Spain are next but the more you go forward the most difficult it becomes. Tonight, however, we just want to think about our performance and our victory.”

With the 2-1 quarter-final win over Belgium, Italy will now face Spain in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 at the Wembley Stadium on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 20:00.

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