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Belgium’s Guile Against Record-Breakers Italy In Quarter Final

Italy and Belgium match up in the Euro 2020 Quarter Finals

The No. 1 ranked team in the world, Belgium (14-0-0, 11-3 ATS) will face Italy in arguably the best of the quarter finals of Euro 2020 on Friday night from Munich. Italy start as slight favorites with Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard unlikely to participate in this fixture.

Belgium vs Italy
  • Date/Time: : July 2, 3 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Allianz Arena, Munich
  • Opening Odds: Belgium +200, Draw +220, Italy +150
  • Belgium vs Italy  Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Expect the odds to wildly fluctuate for this match till start as news of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard comes out. Not just because of their availability but also because of the morale of Belgium’s players. Belgium started at +200 to beat Italy. Presently, those odds have lengthened to +250. The draw has stayed around where it opened. It has moved from +220 at opening to +213 currently, almost negligible movement. Italy’ odds have shortened a bit, moving from +150 at opening to +140 presently.

Belgium News & Notes

Belgium have remained without a defeat or a draw at Euro 2020 after they knocked out defending champions Portugal in unflappable fashion. Belgium scored through a spectacular goal from outside the box from Thorgan Hazard in the first half. That was enough to secure a spot in the quarter finals against Italy.

There was collateral damage as a result of that win, with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard going off injured. Coach Roberto Martinez confirmed that Hazard has a muscular issue and De Bruyne an ankle issue. While they are unlikely to participate in this quarter final, their scans were promising, which means they could still have a part to play in this tournament should Belgium qualify for the semi finals.

"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,” Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said.

Belgium and Italy are fairly close together from a ball distribution standpoint. Belgium have attempted 2,485 passes and completed 2,185 of them at a rate of 87.8 percent accuracy. Italy have attempted 2,479 passes and completed 2,182 of them at a rate of 88 percent accuracy. There is hardly anything in the way both these sides approach the phases because both teams push the ball forward quickly.

There is a massive gulf between goal attempts though. Belgium are currently 18th in this competition in attempts on goal (38 total, 16 on target and 15 off target), while Italy are at the top of the table with 87 attempts on goal (23 on target, 41 off target). Belgium will have to find a way to stop that Italy press.

Italy News & Notes

Italy needed extra time in a thrilling encounter against Austria in order to advance. Goalless after normal time, manager Roberto Mancini’s super substitutes scored twice in quick succession in extra time to give Italy a 2-0 lead. Even though Austria scored towards the closing stages, Italy had enough depth to prevent a miraculous comeback.

Italy also continued their fantastic run of form in international soccer as they set a new national record for most matches without defeat. They have not conceded a goal in normal time in Euro 2020 so far, and have been a force in the final third of the soccer pitch. However, Belgium are well aware that those factors that make Italy strong can also be a weakness, especially on the counter-attack in the closing stages of a match.

"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,” Thorgan Hazard said of Italy’s style across the phases.

Italy have scored nine goals so far at Euro 2020, second most in the tournament. Six of those goals have been inside the area and two outside. Italy have plenty of scoring diversity, not just in terms of distance to goal but also in terms of strength of feet: five of their goals have come from the right foot and three from the left foot. Italy will press but they need to be cautious in the middle third against a team that has enough scoring prowess despite two of their stronger players potentially unavailable.

Betting Pick 1: Belgium +250

This is a slightly against-the-trend selection but that is also because Belgium are incredibly strong even without some of their stars. This will be a tough match for Italy across the phases, and their hardest challenge defensively this tournament. There is plenty of skill in that Belgium camp to stay abreast with Italy and then spring on the offense in the counter-attack. Even if Belgium do not win in normal time, the No. 1 ranked team has a strong chance to advance.

Betting Pick 2: Over 2.0 goals (-122)

Belgium and Italy move the ball quicker and more effectively than almost any other team in the world. They will continue to keep that modus operandi going forward in the rest of the tournament. Italy have taken more shots on goal than any other team in Euro 2020. This will be a high-octane match, which should have a direct impact on the total heading OVER the handicap.

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Shark Bites
  • Belgium have a 14-0-0 recent record.
  • Italy have a 11-1-2 ATS record.
  • Italy’s OVER/UNDER record is 11-3.