With this win, Italy is definitely the top favorite
Italy and Belgium offer the best match of the European Championship so far Compared to the lame round of 16 of the Germans, it sometimes seems like a different sport. After the intoxicating victory, Italy is a deserved winner and top favorite for the title.
Lorenzo Insigne put the ball in front of him again and lifted his head after it was pulled in from the left. The Italian aimed at the far corner and flicked the ball exactly where he wanted it – into the Belgian goal. It was just one of the many highlights of the best game so far in the European Championship, at the end of which Italy won 2-1 and advanced to the semi-finals.
“We deserved to win. The guys were exceptional. We were really good and could have scored a few more goals, ”said Italy coach Roberto Mancini.
Italy put in an impressive performance against Belgium in a game worthy of a final. Mancini’s team went extremely fast for 90 minutes. In contrast to the German round of 16 against England, the teams hardly stayed in midfield. Cross passes, which slow down the game and were seen in rows at the German 0-2, were frowned upon. A team won’t win a game with a ball attachment.
Italy almost always chose the direct pass forward. Three, four contacts – there was nothing more in the midfield of the Italians before they passed the ball into the top. Since the Belgians, number one in the world rankings, went at a similar pace and pursued a similar game philosophy, there were almost no breaks in the game.
Hab finals against Spain
After the sovereign preliminary round with three wins and the somewhat tortured round of 16 against Austria (3-1 after extra time), Italy, which has now been undefeated for 32 games, delivered a real matriculation test against Belgium, which makes it a top favorite. In the semi-finals on Tuesday (9 p.m.) Spain will be waiting, who have prevailed against Switzerland in the quarter-finals on penalties.
In all likelihood, Leonardo Spinazzola will be absent there, who injured himself in a sprint in the second half without any influence from the opponent. The offensive left-back was one of the best Italians at the European Championship up until then.
After the substitution, the Italians focused on what they have always been famous for: defending. If they allowed the technically strong Belgians to have chances again and again, they closed behind in the closing stages. The experienced central defender duo Giorgo Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci cleared everything away.
“A defeat against a good team that hasn’t lost in ages. It’s really disappointing, but the good opponents deserve to go through, ”said Belgium goalkeeper Thibault Courtois.