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Belgium vs Italy LIVE Euro 2020 latest score goals and updates

Belgium vs Italy  LIVE Euro 2020 latest score goals and updates
italy vs belgium, Belgium, Italy


Belgium vs Italy, Euro 2020 live: score and latest quarter-final updates Fri, 02 Jul 2021 16:00:00 +0100-Follow all the latest updates from the match in Munich as tournament contenders Belgium and Italy meet for a place in the semi-finals.

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Belgium vs Italy LIVE: Latest Euro 2020 updates

July 02, 2021

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Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:56
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Straight down the middle from Romelu Lukaku.

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:54
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At 19 years and 36 days old Jéremy Doku is the youngest player ever to start a knockout stage match for Belgium at a major tournament. He’s a lightning quick winger and won the penalty that gave Belgium a way back into this game.

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:52
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45+2 mins: Lukaku’s goal is the last kick of the first half. That was a blistering first 45 minutes of football and if things continue this way we’re in for more goals in the second half.

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:49
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45+2 mins: Belgium are back in it! A VAR check confirms that the penalty should stand and it’s up to Romelu Lukaku to fire it home. He blasts the spot kick straigth down the middle and gives Belgium a lifeline!

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:47
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45 mins: Di Lorenzo shoves Doku in the back as he sprints into the box with the ball. The youngster goes over and the referee points to the spot.

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:47
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44 mins: Incredible! Lorenzo Insigne gets the ball on the left wing. He brings it inside and shifts the ball around Youri Tielemans. The Belgium defence drop off him so Insigne fires a curling shot towards the far top corner. He hits it brilliantly and Courtois has no chance of stopping it. Fantastic goal! Italy are two up!

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:44
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39 mins: Di Lorenzo’s cross into the box from the right is knocked behind by Vermaelen for an Italy corner. Verratti delivers an outswinging cross into the middle and the headed clearance from Hazard drops to Chiesa. He curls a right-footed effort at goal and sends it narrowly wide of the right hand post.

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:41
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36 mins: Italy aren’t letting up. They’re pressing high when off the ball and moving it rapidly when in possession. Insigne slots a pass out to Barella who flicks it over the top with the outside of his right foot. He’s expecting a run from Immobile that doesn’t come and the ball comes through to Courtois.

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:38
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34 mins: Belgium need to find something now. De Bruyne swings a corner into the box but Chiellini gets above Witsel and heads the ball away.

Michael Jones2 July 2021 20:34


... read more

Belgium vs Italy LIVE: Euro 2020 latest score, goals and updates … Fri, 02 Jul 2021 16:00:00 +0100-Takes it with his left and hammers it down the middle as Donnarumma dives to his right.

image

Belgium vs Italy, Euro 2020 live: score and latest quarter-final updates

July 02, 2021

8:56PM

Romelu Lukaku grabs one back from the spot Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

8:54PM

Lorenzo Insigne doubles Italy's lead Credit: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Lorenzo Insigne runs riot Credit: Alex Grimm – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

8:51PM

Takes it with his left and hammers it down the middle as Donnarumma dives to his right. 

The last kick of the half. This is the game of the tournament. Punch and counter-punch. Two wonderful finishes from Italy and they're still protesting the penalty – there was a push and a tangle of legs before Doku threw himself to the turf. 

What a riot. Great game. 

8:48PM

Belgium 1 Italy 2 (Lukaku, pen)

8:48PM

It's being checked by VAR, for Di Lorenzo's trip on the flying Doku as he was about to run out of space in the box. 

8:47PM

Pure Insigne. Few people in world football are as good cutting in on their right foot from the left. Here he dips his shoulder, beats Tielemans for fun, as Big Ron would say, and then arcs a glorious right-foot shot into the top right corner. 

8:46PM

Belgium 0 Italy 2 (Insigne)

8:45PM

Di Lorenzo bombs down the right and whips over a cross which Belgium turn behind for a corner. Insigne takes, Vertongehn heads to the edge of the box where Cheisa meets it and bends a shot that shades the wrong side of the right post.  Or right side if you're Belgian. 

8:44PM

Witsel slaps Verratti in the mooey and Verratti, understandably, wants him booked but the referee settles for a ticking off instead. 

8:42PM

De Bruyne and Meunier try to drag Italy's defenders out of position but the old foxes are not about to be diddled out of the middle. 

8:40PM

Italy are at Belgium's throats in midfield, ripping the ball off them with a bear-trap press which sets up Barella for another shot from range but, like most things in art, the sequel is a flop, slicing it wide. 

8:38PM

Belgium come out fighting from the kick-off, sending Meunier flying down the right to fizz ina  daisy-cutter cross that Jorginho almost shanks into his own goal but it whistles past the post. 

Nicolo Barella scores for Italy Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

8:35PM

Exploiting a mistake by Vertonghen who was dribbling out of the box in heavy traffic and skewed his pass straight to Verratti  30 yards out. He pops it back down the right channel to Barella who kills it with a velvety touch, beats Hazard too easily and then Vermaelen before sweeping a shot across goal and into the left corner. 

8:32PM

Belgium 0 Italy 1 (Barella)

8:32PM

Italy break like lightning and find Chiesa in the heart of the box, ready to pounce after some penalty area pinball. He arrows a shot towards the top left bin and Courtois shows his chops with a fine save. 

8:30PM

This is a breathless game, played at high intensity, skill and poise. Lukaku breaks down the right, opens his body to target the bottom left corner with his right-foot shot but again Donnarumma thwarts him. Best keeper in the world. Hands down. He pulls off another fantastic full-length low save and the corner is meat and drink to Italy's defenders and Immobile.

8:25PM

Fantastic from De Bruyne who looks as fit as a fiddle. He hares down the middle, using Doku to his left and Lukaku to his right, running parallel with him, to deceive/distract the defenders then harpoons a left-foot shot that arcs towards the top left corner with great power. Donnarumma leaps to his right and claws it around the post. 

8:22PM

Booking for Verratti for hauling down Tielemans. Far too hands-on, as is his wont.  Half a minute later Tielemans tries to get the ball back off Verratti and catches his right foot with his own. Verratti yelps and that's a booking for Tielemans. 

8:21PM

Chiellini throws his head in the way of De Bruyne's shot. Must have hurt but he looks as proud as punch and beats his chest.  

Bonucci puts the ball into the net but his joy was erased by VAR Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

8:19PM

Excellent response from Belgium, using Doku's pace down the left to win a corner and then a throw, both of which are defended stoutly by Chiellini and Bonucci. 

8:17PM

It came from a free-kick needlessly given away by T Hazard coming through the back of Jorginho. Insigne whipped it in from the right, Chiellini , whose right leg was offside by about six inches, made the near-post run and hooked it on into the middle where Di Lorenzo was also offside before Bonucci bundled it in with a prod. No goal, though. VAR. 

8:16PM

Chiellini was offside when he flicked it on at the near post to Di Lorenzo and Bonucci running through the middle of the box. 

8:14PM

Belgium 0 Italy 1 (Bonucci)

8:13PM

The ball doesn't stick to Immobile when Barella and Jorginho combine to try to set him up 25 yards out to turn. infield. It goes out for a throw-in from which Belgium, through Meunier, fly up the right and earn a corner. 

8:11PM

Italy have started to get more of a grip on possession and are stroking it around now, probing down their right after Spinazzola switched play. The passing is precise and the probing is starting to give them confidence. 

8:08PM

Good work from Jorginho and Spinazzola send Insigne down the left. He cuts back on to his right 10 yards inside the Belgium half and bends a right-foot pass to the back-post that is just too long and leaves Chiesa too little space to bring down and threaten Courtois' goal. 

8:06PM

Lukaku pulls off Chiellini's shoulder and darts between the two centre-backs. The long pass falls to the right of the box and he swivels to blaze a half-volley over the bar … but he was offside. 

8:05PM

Lukaku chase the ball down the left, turns on the heel jets and forces an error from Chiellini that earns Belgium a corner. De Bruyne takes and Bonucci climbs to win a thumpingly good defensive header. His neck must be tungsten sprung. 

8:03PM

Both sides take the knee to protest against racial injustice and then the match kicks off, Belgium attacking from left to right. Witsel picks off an Italy pass, slips it to De Bruyne 40 yards from goal and he threads a pass down the inside-left. Lukaku gives chase but Donnarumma pounces on it a moment before Lukaku can reach it. 

8:00PM

Apologies – Italy are playing in all white – for no reason. No colour clash at all and making them play in single colours is ridiculous and has to be stopped. 

7:58PM

It isn't, as a colleague of mine has written, a 'grey blazer'. It's seersucker. Pure Enzo Bearzot. Have they never listened to Quadrophenia? Been to a good tailor? 

Mancio is a mod Credit: Andreas Gebert/Pool Photo via AP

7:56PM

Belgium first in all red with black brushstrokes and yellow flashes, Italy in the blue and white of the House of Savoy. 

7:51PM

After their work getting Axel Witsel fit in half the scheduled time after tearing his achilles tendon, they've worked wonders with De Bruyne and his badly twisted ankle – back in 96 hours:

De Bruyne is back Credit: Stuart Franklin/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

7:41PM

Belgium fans in the majority at Munich Credit: Matthias Balk / Avalon

7:39PM

Little to update you on from Munich, understandably. 

7:28PM

The identity of the opponents for the winners of this match in Tuesday's semi-final at Wembley is going down to the wire. Will Magee has the latest.

7:11PM

Belgium  Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Thorgan Hazard; Doku, De Bruyne; Lukaku.
Substitutes  Kaminski, Sels, Boyata, Carrasco, Mertens, Denayer, Dendoncker, Benteke, Chadli, Batshuayi, Trossard, Praet.

Italy  Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.
Substitutes  Sirigu, Meret, Locatelli, Belotti, Berardi, Pessina, Emerson Palmieri, Acerbi, Cristante, Bernardeschi, Bastoni, Toloi, Meret.

Referee  Slavko Vincic (Slovenia)

7:08PM

Eden Hazard and Timothy Castagne miss out on the 23 through injury, Hans Vanaken by managerial judgment.

For Italy, the three left out of the matchday 23 are Gaetano Castrovilli, Giacomo Raspadori and the injured Alessandro Florenzi. 

6:57PM

 Chiesa starts in preference to Berardi and Chiellini is indeed back to replace Acerbi. 

6:52PM

One change – Doku for Eden Hazard. 

6:49PM

Have generally been named 80 minutes before kick-off though they don't have to be announced until an hour before the start. Given Belgium's injury problems, one suspects they are leaving it as late as possible and Italy are not going to blink first. 

6:21PM

I think it's safe to assume Girgio Chiellini is back tonight to lead Italy:

Chiellini starts Credit: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Chiellini is 36, Leonardo Bonucci 34, Toby Alderweireld 32, Thomas Vermaelen 35 and Jan Vertonghen 34, making the average age of a centre-back in tonight's fixture, presuming the line-ups are as expected, is 34 years, 2 months and 12 days. 

4:49PM

Has inspired protests against the governing body's perversion of the game in favour of the rich. Bayern's Ultras have a long tradition of protest against Uefa and the ECA. 

4:00PM

Roberto Martinez will give Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard until the last minute to prove their fitness tonight but neither was able to train with the rest of the squad on Thursday morning.

“We all know that we are fighting against time,” said Martinez, “but we're going to take until the last minute to make the decision. Every day that goes by, every time they can sleep and get three meals and get some treatment, we see an improvement, and then we'll see tomorrow if they can be involved or not. Unfortunately at the moment, we cannot make a decision.

“Obviously it will be difficult for tomorrow – a soft tissue injury in Eden's case, maybe is difficult for a game like tomorrow, and for Kevin, having a ligament problem maybe is a bit different.

“But it's more a medical decision. At the moment, it's not a football decision; tomorrow it will become a medical decision in the afternoon and then we'll make a football decision after that.”

Martinez could do with having all his most potent weapons available for a clash with an Italian side who are unbeaten in 31 matches, while both teams are bidding to become the first to win 15 consecutive European Championship matches since the start of qualification.

However, he may be able to draw a little inspiration from a previous clash with Roberto Mancini after famously leading Wigan to FA Cup final victory over the Italy head coach's Manchester City team in 2013.

He said: “Obviously it was very special for Wigan Athletic and everyone connected, but it shows you that over 90 minutes in a cup, anything can happen.”

Manchester City fans bid farewell to Bobby Mancini after his last game in charge in May 2013, the week after his side had been beaten in the Cup final by Roberto Martinez's Wigan Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Belgium will be looking to striker Romelu Lukaku to continue his superb goalscoring form but Italy skipper Giorgio Chiellini insists he will not be losing any sleep over the prospect of going head-to-head with the Inter striker.

The 36-year-old Juventus defender and his team-mates face the task of stopping the man whose goals helped to hand Inter a first Serie A title in 11 years last season if they are to emerge victorious.

Chiellini, who is back in contention after missing the final Group A win over Wales and the last-16 win over Austria through injury, told a press conference: “We have got a lot of respect for Lukaku because he had a great season for Inter and all campaign long, we have witnessed just what a match-winner and a big player he's become.

“But it would be doing a disservice to Belgium if you were simply to say that Belgium were all about Romelu Lukaku because they've got quality players all over the pitch.

“We'll prepare for the game as we always have done. We'll keep an eye on him and their other good players because they have got some top players regardless of who starts tomorrow night.

“But I think we'll both sleep well tonight, that goes for me and Romelu.”

3:48PM

By Sam Dean

It was inevitable that Chelsea’s decision to sign Thorgan Hazard, back in the summer of 2012, would be met with raised eyebrows and more than a few sniggers. After all, the deal was completed just weeks after Chelsea had finalised a £32 million move for Eden Hazard, Thorgan’s older brother. To many observers it seemed rather convenient that, just as Eden was settling into life in England, Thorgan arrived to make his adaptation that little bit easier.

Thorgan was clearly aware of these suggestions. That much became clear in 2016, when he gave an interview to Het Nieuwsblad. Asked why he was signed by Chelsea at the age of 19, Hazard made a fair point. “It is not like they just sign every player’s brother,” he replied. “Frank Lampard and John Terry’s brothers never played for Chelsea.”

Thorgan, it is safe to say, has long since proven himself to be far more than Eden’s add-on. This is a player who has forged a hugely impressive career on his own, starring for Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and now impressing for Belgium.

It was Thorgan, rather than Eden, who stepped up for his country in their round-of-16 tie against Portugal. His goal, a viciously swerving effort, was one of the finest strikes of this year’s European Championship, and it was a moment that helped Thorgan to seize some of the limelight that is usually reserved for his more illustrious brother. “Probably the most important goal of my career,” he called it.

It is a reality of Thorgan’s footballing life that he will forever be judged through the prism of Eden. That might sound unfair on a fine player who has made 38 appearances for the top-ranked country in the world, but equally it is perfectly understandable that comparisons are drawn. The brothers usually play in the same position, and they essentially share the same face.

Thorgan Hazard fires Belgium into the lead against Portugal Credit: REUTERS/Thanassis Stavrakis

There are differences, though. Thorgan is the slightly taller of the two, and he is seen to be the more hard-working. For Belgium he plays as a wing-back, which reflects his willingness to do the defensive hard yards that Eden prefers to avoid. “Technically Eden is the best but when it comes to hard work, Thorgan is ahead,” said Thierry Hazard, their father, in an interview with Der Spiegel in 2015.

Thorgan never did become a Chelsea first-team player. He was loaned to Zulte Waregem in the Belgian league before joining 'Gladbach for around £7m in 2015. That marked a considerable profit for Chelsea, who had signed him from Lens for just £450,000. Four years later, Dortmund paid around £22m for his services.

As was the case with Eden at Real Madrid, Thorgan was not helped by injuries last season. He was restricted to just 16 league appearances for Dortmund, scoring only one goal. Now fully fit, he has scored two goals in three games for Belgium at the Euros and will be expected to offer more attacking threat against Italy on Friday night, especially with his brother and Kevin De Bruyne both major injury doubts.

Thorgan has described himself as the most competitive of the Hazards (there is also Kylian and Ethan, both footballers) and his childhood memories involve him playing in goal against Eden. The Real forward, meanwhile, has said before that Thorgan is the better of the two.

The Hazard brothers at the 2018 World Cup Credit: David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

“He deserves more praise than me because I think it’s harder for him, because everything has come to me quickly, I played some good matches early in my career,” said Eden after Thorgan was named Belgian Player of the Year in 2014. “He has always had to contend with, 'He's the brother of Eden …' Now he has made a name for himself.”

In Belgium, that was clearly true. Thorgan has certainly made a name for himself in Germany, too. When it comes to the wider world, however, the task has inevitably proved a little more difficult until now.

Romelu Lukaku and De Bruyne are often cited as the brilliant Belgians who got away for Chelsea but Thorgan, emerging from Eden’s considerable shadow, is now showing he deserves to be viewed in that same light.

8:56PM

Romelu Lukaku grabs one back from the spot Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

8:54PM

Lorenzo Insigne doubles Italy's lead Credit: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Lorenzo Insigne runs riot Credit: Alex Grimm – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

8:51PM

Takes it with his left and hammers it down the middle as Donnarumma dives to his right. 

The last kick of the half. This is the game of the tournament. Punch and counter-punch. Two wonderful finishes from Italy and they're still protesting the penalty – there was a push and a tangle of legs before Doku threw himself to the turf. 

What a riot. Great game. 

8:48PM

Belgium 1 Italy 2 (Lukaku, pen)

8:48PM

It's being checked by VAR, for Di Lorenzo's trip on the flying Doku as he was about to run out of space in the box. 

8:47PM

Pure Insigne. Few people in world football are as good cutting in on their right foot from the left. Here he dips his shoulder, beats Tielemans for fun, as Big Ron would say, and then arcs a glorious right-foot shot into the top right corner. 

8:46PM

Belgium 0 Italy 2 (Insigne)

8:45PM

Di Lorenzo bombs down the right and whips over a cross which Belgium turn behind for a corner. Insigne takes, Vertongehn heads to the edge of the box where Cheisa meets it and bends a shot that shades the wrong side of the right post.  Or right side if you're Belgian. 

8:44PM

Witsel slaps Verratti in the mooey and Verratti, understandably, wants him booked but the referee settles for a ticking off instead. 

8:42PM

De Bruyne and Meunier try to drag Italy's defenders out of position but the old foxes are not about to be diddled out of the middle. 

8:40PM

Italy are at Belgium's throats in midfield, ripping the ball off them with a bear-trap press which sets up Barella for another shot from range but, like most things in art, the sequel is a flop, slicing it wide. 

8:38PM

Belgium come out fighting from the kick-off, sending Meunier flying down the right to fizz ina  daisy-cutter cross that Jorginho almost shanks into his own goal but it whistles past the post. 

Nicolo Barella scores for Italy Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

8:35PM

Exploiting a mistake by Vertonghen who was dribbling out of the box in heavy traffic and skewed his pass straight to Verratti  30 yards out. He pops it back down the right channel to Barella who kills it with a velvety touch, beats Hazard too easily and then Vermaelen before sweeping a shot across goal and into the left corner. 

8:32PM

Belgium 0 Italy 1 (Barella)

8:32PM

Italy break like lightning and find Chiesa in the heart of the box, ready to pounce after some penalty area pinball. He arrows a shot towards the top left bin and Courtois shows his chops with a fine save. 

8:30PM

This is a breathless game, played at high intensity, skill and poise. Lukaku breaks down the right, opens his body to target the bottom left corner with his right-foot shot but again Donnarumma thwarts him. Best keeper in the world. Hands down. He pulls off another fantastic full-length low save and the corner is meat and drink to Italy's defenders and Immobile.

8:25PM

Fantastic from De Bruyne who looks as fit as a fiddle. He hares down the middle, using Doku to his left and Lukaku to his right, running parallel with him, to deceive/distract the defenders then harpoons a left-foot shot that arcs towards the top left corner with great power. Donnarumma leaps to his right and claws it around the post. 

8:22PM

Booking for Verratti for hauling down Tielemans. Far too hands-on, as is his wont.  Half a minute later Tielemans tries to get the ball back off Verratti and catches his right foot with his own. Verratti yelps and that's a booking for Tielemans. 

8:21PM

Chiellini throws his head in the way of De Bruyne's shot. Must have hurt but he looks as proud as punch and beats his chest.  

Bonucci puts the ball into the net but his joy was erased by VAR Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

8:19PM

Excellent response from Belgium, using Doku's pace down the left to win a corner and then a throw, both of which are defended stoutly by Chiellini and Bonucci. 

8:17PM

It came from a free-kick needlessly given away by T Hazard coming through the back of Jorginho. Insigne whipped it in from the right, Chiellini , whose right leg was offside by about six inches, made the near-post run and hooked it on into the middle where Di Lorenzo was also offside before Bonucci bundled it in with a prod. No goal, though. VAR. 

8:16PM

Chiellini was offside when he flicked it on at the near post to Di Lorenzo and Bonucci running through the middle of the box. 

8:14PM

Belgium 0 Italy 1 (Bonucci)

8:13PM

The ball doesn't stick to Immobile when Barella and Jorginho combine to try to set him up 25 yards out to turn. infield. It goes out for a throw-in from which Belgium, through Meunier, fly up the right and earn a corner. 

8:11PM

Italy have started to get more of a grip on possession and are stroking it around now, probing down their right after Spinazzola switched play. The passing is precise and the probing is starting to give them confidence. 

8:08PM

Good work from Jorginho and Spinazzola send Insigne down the left. He cuts back on to his right 10 yards inside the Belgium half and bends a right-foot pass to the back-post that is just too long and leaves Chiesa too little space to bring down and threaten Courtois' goal. 

8:06PM

Lukaku pulls off Chiellini's shoulder and darts between the two centre-backs. The long pass falls to the right of the box and he swivels to blaze a half-volley over the bar … but he was offside. 

8:05PM

Lukaku chase the ball down the left, turns on the heel jets and forces an error from Chiellini that earns Belgium a corner. De Bruyne takes and Bonucci climbs to win a thumpingly good defensive header. His neck must be tungsten sprung. 

8:03PM

Both sides take the knee to protest against racial injustice and then the match kicks off, Belgium attacking from left to right. Witsel picks off an Italy pass, slips it to De Bruyne 40 yards from goal and he threads a pass down the inside-left. Lukaku gives chase but Donnarumma pounces on it a moment before Lukaku can reach it. 

8:00PM

Apologies – Italy are playing in all white – for no reason. No colour clash at all and making them play in single colours is ridiculous and has to be stopped. 

7:58PM

It isn't, as a colleague of mine has written, a 'grey blazer'. It's seersucker. Pure Enzo Bearzot. Have they never listened to Quadrophenia? Been to a good tailor? 

Mancio is a mod Credit: Andreas Gebert/Pool Photo via AP

7:56PM

Belgium first in all red with black brushstrokes and yellow flashes, Italy in the blue and white of the House of Savoy. 

7:51PM

After their work getting Axel Witsel fit in half the scheduled time after tearing his achilles tendon, they've worked wonders with De Bruyne and his badly twisted ankle – back in 96 hours:

De Bruyne is back Credit: Stuart Franklin/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

7:41PM

Belgium fans in the majority at Munich Credit: Matthias Balk / Avalon

7:39PM

Little to update you on from Munich, understandably. 

7:28PM

The identity of the opponents for the winners of this match in Tuesday's semi-final at Wembley is going down to the wire. Will Magee has the latest.

7:11PM

Belgium  Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Thorgan Hazard; Doku, De Bruyne; Lukaku.
Substitutes  Kaminski, Sels, Boyata, Carrasco, Mertens, Denayer, Dendoncker, Benteke, Chadli, Batshuayi, Trossard, Praet.

Italy  Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.
Substitutes  Sirigu, Meret, Locatelli, Belotti, Berardi, Pessina, Emerson Palmieri, Acerbi, Cristante, Bernardeschi, Bastoni, Toloi, Meret.

Referee  Slavko Vincic (Slovenia)

7:08PM

Eden Hazard and Timothy Castagne miss out on the 23 through injury, Hans Vanaken by managerial judgment.

For Italy, the three left out of the matchday 23 are Gaetano Castrovilli, Giacomo Raspadori and the injured Alessandro Florenzi. 

6:57PM

 Chiesa starts in preference to Berardi and Chiellini is indeed back to replace Acerbi. 

6:52PM

One change – Doku for Eden Hazard. 

6:49PM

Have generally been named 80 minutes before kick-off though they don't have to be announced until an hour before the start. Given Belgium's injury problems, one suspects they are leaving it as late as possible and Italy are not going to blink first. 

6:21PM

I think it's safe to assume Girgio Chiellini is back tonight to lead Italy:

Chiellini starts Credit: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Chiellini is 36, Leonardo Bonucci 34, Toby Alderweireld 32, Thomas Vermaelen 35 and Jan Vertonghen 34, making the average age of a centre-back in tonight's fixture, presuming the line-ups are as expected, is 34 years, 2 months and 12 days. 

4:49PM

Has inspired protests against the governing body's perversion of the game in favour of the rich. Bayern's Ultras have a long tradition of protest against Uefa and the ECA. 

4:00PM

Roberto Martinez will give Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard until the last minute to prove their fitness tonight but neither was able to train with the rest of the squad on Thursday morning.

“We all know that we are fighting against time,” said Martinez, “but we're going to take until the last minute to make the decision. Every day that goes by, every time they can sleep and get three meals and get some treatment, we see an improvement, and then we'll see tomorrow if they can be involved or not. Unfortunately at the moment, we cannot make a decision.

“Obviously it will be difficult for tomorrow – a soft tissue injury in Eden's case, maybe is difficult for a game like tomorrow, and for Kevin, having a ligament problem maybe is a bit different.

“But it's more a medical decision. At the moment, it's not a football decision; tomorrow it will become a medical decision in the afternoon and then we'll make a football decision after that.”

Martinez could do with having all his most potent weapons available for a clash with an Italian side who are unbeaten in 31 matches, while both teams are bidding to become the first to win 15 consecutive European Championship matches since the start of qualification.

However, he may be able to draw a little inspiration from a previous clash with Roberto Mancini after famously leading Wigan to FA Cup final victory over the Italy head coach's Manchester City team in 2013.

He said: “Obviously it was very special for Wigan Athletic and everyone connected, but it shows you that over 90 minutes in a cup, anything can happen.”

Manchester City fans bid farewell to Bobby Mancini after his last game in charge in May 2013, the week after his side had been beaten in the Cup final by Roberto Martinez's Wigan Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Belgium will be looking to striker Romelu Lukaku to continue his superb goalscoring form but Italy skipper Giorgio Chiellini insists he will not be losing any sleep over the prospect of going head-to-head with the Inter striker.

The 36-year-old Juventus defender and his team-mates face the task of stopping the man whose goals helped to hand Inter a first Serie A title in 11 years last season if they are to emerge victorious.

Chiellini, who is back in contention after missing the final Group A win over Wales and the last-16 win over Austria through injury, told a press conference: “We have got a lot of respect for Lukaku because he had a great season for Inter and all campaign long, we have witnessed just what a match-winner and a big player he's become.

“But it would be doing a disservice to Belgium if you were simply to say that Belgium were all about Romelu Lukaku because they've got quality players all over the pitch.

“We'll prepare for the game as we always have done. We'll keep an eye on him and their other good players because they have got some top players regardless of who starts tomorrow night.

“But I think we'll both sleep well tonight, that goes for me and Romelu.”

3:48PM

By Sam Dean

It was inevitable that Chelsea’s decision to sign Thorgan Hazard, back in the summer of 2012, would be met with raised eyebrows and more than a few sniggers. After all, the deal was completed just weeks after Chelsea had finalised a £32 million move for Eden Hazard, Thorgan’s older brother. To many observers it seemed rather convenient that, just as Eden was settling into life in England, Thorgan arrived to make his adaptation that little bit easier.

Thorgan was clearly aware of these suggestions. That much became clear in 2016, when he gave an interview to Het Nieuwsblad. Asked why he was signed by Chelsea at the age of 19, Hazard made a fair point. “It is not like they just sign every player’s brother,” he replied. “Frank Lampard and John Terry’s brothers never played for Chelsea.”

Thorgan, it is safe to say, has long since proven himself to be far more than Eden’s add-on. This is a player who has forged a hugely impressive career on his own, starring for Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and now impressing for Belgium.

It was Thorgan, rather than Eden, who stepped up for his country in their round-of-16 tie against Portugal. His goal, a viciously swerving effort, was one of the finest strikes of this year’s European Championship, and it was a moment that helped Thorgan to seize some of the limelight that is usually reserved for his more illustrious brother. “Probably the most important goal of my career,” he called it.

It is a reality of Thorgan’s footballing life that he will forever be judged through the prism of Eden. That might sound unfair on a fine player who has made 38 appearances for the top-ranked country in the world, but equally it is perfectly understandable that comparisons are drawn. The brothers usually play in the same position, and they essentially share the same face.

Thorgan Hazard fires Belgium into the lead against Portugal Credit: REUTERS/Thanassis Stavrakis

There are differences, though. Thorgan is the slightly taller of the two, and he is seen to be the more hard-working. For Belgium he plays as a wing-back, which reflects his willingness to do the defensive hard yards that Eden prefers to avoid. “Technically Eden is the best but when it comes to hard work, Thorgan is ahead,” said Thierry Hazard, their father, in an interview with Der Spiegel in 2015.

Thorgan never did become a Chelsea first-team player. He was loaned to Zulte Waregem in the Belgian league before joining 'Gladbach for around £7m in 2015. That marked a considerable profit for Chelsea, who had signed him from Lens for just £450,000. Four years later, Dortmund paid around £22m for his services.

As was the case with Eden at Real Madrid, Thorgan was not helped by injuries last season. He was restricted to just 16 league appearances for Dortmund, scoring only one goal. Now fully fit, he has scored two goals in three games for Belgium at the Euros and will be expected to offer more attacking threat against Italy on Friday night, especially with his brother and Kevin De Bruyne both major injury doubts.

Thorgan has described himself as the most competitive of the Hazards (there is also Kylian and Ethan, both footballers) and his childhood memories involve him playing in goal against Eden. The Real forward, meanwhile, has said before that Thorgan is the better of the two.

The Hazard brothers at the 2018 World Cup Credit: David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

“He deserves more praise than me because I think it’s harder for him, because everything has come to me quickly, I played some good matches early in my career,” said Eden after Thorgan was named Belgian Player of the Year in 2014. “He has always had to contend with, 'He's the brother of Eden …' Now he has made a name for himself.”

In Belgium, that was clearly true. Thorgan has certainly made a name for himself in Germany, too. When it comes to the wider world, however, the task has inevitably proved a little more difficult until now.

Romelu Lukaku and De Bruyne are often cited as the brilliant Belgians who got away for Chelsea but Thorgan, emerging from Eden’s considerable shadow, is now showing he deserves to be viewed in that same light.


... read more
– July 2, 2021
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