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Two giants of the game – Phil Thompson and Emmanuel Petit – lock horns as they weigh up the possibilities for the second of Euro 2020‘s quarter finals. Belgium take on Italy to decide who plays the winner of Switzerland v Spain in the semi final.
Italy started the tournament like a house on fire but looked like their fast-tempo game might be waning in their extra time win over Austria in the last 16. Belgium edged past Portugal 1-0 in their first knockout game but who do the lads think is going to triumph in this mouth-watering meeting?
My pre-tournament tip was Belgium to go to the final and win this tournament. It is their golden age, their golden era. Is it the last chance for some of these players? They need to grasp it – particularly some of the defenders. Italy, I was thinking, ‘Wow, Italy was the star of the opening games’. Until Austria. Italy were looking like France did, like England did against Scotland, like Holland were against the Czech Republic.
This gives other teams hope. I think this has got the makings of a great game, I do. Italy have got players who can score – Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Matteo Pessina, Federico Chiesa all look good.
Friday 8pm: Belgium v Italy
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I think one of the big things is going to be, is Kevin de Bruyne going to be fit? Is Eden Hazard going to be fit? Hazard looked like he was getting fitter but I’m going for Both Teams to Score and Belgium to Win – just.
Romelu Lukaku’s the man to Score Anytime. He was my tip for the leading goal scorer. I’ll stick with him and I’m going to stick with Belgium.
I too wonder if Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are going to be fit. That’s the main question for me because it’s not the same team, it’s not the same Belgium without them, you know? I think this is going to be a tactical game. We have seen Italy struggling when the level of the opponent is a little higher and Belgium, they are very capable. They’re not scared of the occasion because they know they have the power to score lots of goals.
But, I still believe that if Kevin De Bruyne is not fit enough then Italy could have an important key in the midfield area. For me the most important aspect in this game will be the midfield area. I’m wondering if Marco Verratti will play because, for me, this is the key of the game. De Bruyne with Hazard they are guys who like to control the ball, they like to control the rhythm.
If Italy can get the possession of the ball that will be the key for them in this game. I still think that if De Bruyne and Hazard are fit I would put a coin on Belgium. Just like with England, destiny sometimes sends you some signs and I believe that Belgium, they have missed out in so many important competitions like the last World Cup, for example.
For me, this is the last chance for this generation and I believe that it’s this side’s destiny, you know? Italy looked very good in the group stage but they looked average in the last game so I still believe that the quality of the Belgian team will be the difference. I think Belgium will Win. Romelu Lukaku’s a nightmare for the Italian defenders and I think this is a game for him to Score Anytime, definitely.
Belgium v Italy tips
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