England’s showdown with Germany might have been the most hotly anticipated clash in the last 16 of Euro 2020. But as for the quarter finals, there’s one match up which has football fans licking their lips.
Belgium face up against Italy in the last 8 on Friday evening, with both sides showing glimpses of brilliance during the competition so far. While Belgium went into the tournament as 6-1 to lift the trophy, Italy were less fancied. So, who do the bookies see as going through to the semi-finals? Let’s take a look.
How Belgium reached the last eight…
Belgium started the competition brightly. In through their group games, Roberto Martinez’s men put a combined seven goals past Russia (3-0), Denmark (2-1) and Finland (2-0), only conceding one goal in a tough clash against the Danes. And they reached the last eight stage again by being tight at the back. A 1-0 victory against Portugal on Sunday saw them through.
How Italy reached the last eight…
Italy, meanwhile, are famed for their defensive solidity – and this tournament has proved no different. Like Belgium, Roberto Mancini’s side has only leaked one goal on their way to the quarter finals. In fact, they didn’t concede a goal in their group games, with 3-0 victories over Turkey and Switzerland, and a 1-0 win over Wales.
In the last 16, they were taken into extra time by a dogged Austria side, but came through 2-1 thanks to goals from Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina in the 95th and 105th minutes. A late Sasa Kalajdzic goal for Austria wasn’t enough to take the tie all the way to penalties.
William Hill has Belgium as slight favourites, at 12/5 to win in 90 minutes. Italy, meanwhile, is out at 13/10. For those who think this tie is headed for extra time, Belgium are priced at 11/10 and Italy are 4/6.
And for those who think this is going all the way to a penalty shootout, it’s a lottery with both priced at 9/1 to go through. Interestingly, though, Belgium’s Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are both unlikely to play due to injury.
Ones to look out for
Romelo Lukaku is definitely one to watch for Belgium, for a couple of reasons. The striker has already bagged two goals in the tournament so far. But, importantly, he plays his club football at Inter Milan, where he’s proved a hit after his move from Manchester United, so he knows many of the Italian players.
For those who fancy him to hit the net for Belgium in this clash, William Hill is offering decent odds of 12/5 to be the first to score. If you think he’ll find the net in the first 10 minutes to set the tie alight, Lukaku is offered at odds of 25/1.
A more interesting bet could be for Lukaku to score, Belgium to win and both teams to score. William Hill see that as a 10/1 chance. For Italy, the bookies think Ciro Immobile is the man to watch. Like Lukaku, Immobile has two goals in the tournament so far, against Turkey and Switzerland. What’s more, the Lazio man has a decent turn of pase, which could prove vital against an aging Belgium defence. Thomas Vermaelen, who has played all four games for Belgium so far, is 35, while Jan Vertonghen is 24 and Toby Alderweireld is 32.
Immobile is 16/5 to score first for Italy. If you think he will score, Italy will win, but Belgium will also score, look at the 17/2 odds offered by William Hill. With decent attacking talent on display, William Hill is offering odds of 19/20 for both sides to score