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Group B: winners (Saint Petersburg and Copenhagen)


9:22 am
July 2, 2021


Fresh Meat

Posts: 7


Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
Misses next match if booked: Barella, Di Lorenzo, Pessina

Reporters’ views
Alyssa Saliou, Belgium reporter: Fitness concerns over Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard have dominated the build-up, a real concern as both are integral to Belgium’s attacking game. The first half against Denmark, when neither started and the Red Devils struggled, remains fresh in mind. Against a team like Italy, Belgium will be eager to have their strongest XI available. The Azzurri create chances and, having conceded a solitary goal in 12 outings, they don’t allow too many at the other end. It should be a brilliant match.

Italy: Who is most likely to…?
Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter: The hard-fought win against Austria was exactly what the doctor ordered for Italy after three convincing performances in the group stage had sparked plenty of enthusiasm. For the first time in the tournament, Roberto Mancini’s men go into a game in which they are not considered favourites, which traditionally is exactly what the Azzurri welcome. Italy have now a clear identity and their approach will be unchanged, though I expect even more focus and determination.

View from the camps
Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach: “Italy will attack from the very first second; they will be very structured and dynamic. Every player knows his role. The game against Portugal was a game that could have been played a lot further down the line; usually players don’t play these physical and intense games at this stage of the tournament. Luckily, we have enough days to recover and prepare.”

EURO 2000 highlights: Italy 2-0 Belgium
Thorgan Hazard, Belgium midfielder: “Italy will be the toughest opponent we’ve met so far. They’ve had a good run of wins and it will be a nice challenge for us to end that sequence. Their style may suit us more than Portugal. They are enterprising so we may be able to profit from the open spaces, but it definitely won’t be any easier.”

Roberto Mancini, Italy coach: “We will play our own game, always respecting the team we are facing because we know how good they are. There are no easy games as we have seen in this tournament. Belgium are certainly one of the best teams in the world right now but it does not change much because every game is difficult at this stage of the tournament.”

Giorgio Chiellini, Italy captain: “We don’t need to look for motivation for these kind of games, because adrenaline will do everything as soon as we step out on the pitch. I think it will be a match between two great sides and small details will likely make all the difference. We have a great deal of respect for [Romelu] Lukaku because he had a great season at Inter and he became a dominant player. But it’s almost an insult to only talk about Lukaku when you see how many quality players that Belgium have.”

Plot your team’s potential route to the UEFA EURO 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday 11 July.

Switzerland celebrate a dramatic round of 16 win against France
Switzerland celebrate a dramatic round of 16 win against France
Getty Images
The UEFA EURO 2020 knockout bracket is taking shape.

Here we plot each team’s potential opponents and venues all the way to the final.