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Euro 2020: Italy sails through Belgium into the semis

Italie passe en demies
Euro 2020: Italy sails through Belgium into the semis

The most consistent and attractive team since the start of the Euro, Italy continues its journey. The Nazionale knocked Belgium out of the running to reach the semi-finals (2-1).

Italy's redemption is incredible. Three years ago, this team had hit rock bottom, missing out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup. In Roberto Mancini, they have found one hell of a therapist. The former Italian international midfielder has quickly put the Nazionale back on track and they are now destroying everything in their path. The team has no real stars, but it has a well-oiled engine and a devilishly homogeneous group.

In the group matches of this Euro, the Italians had already sent a message to the whole of Europe by defeating Turkey (3-0), Switzerland (3-0) and Wales (1-0). However, there were still doubts because they had not yet beaten a European champion. Their difficulties in getting rid of Austria in the round of 16 reinforced these doubts. But on Friday, in the quarter-finals against Belgium, Italy showed that they had all the qualities to go all the way.

 

Barella and Insigne on target
Verratti and his team-mates' pressure disrupted the Red Devils' game. And when the latter managed to create chances through counter-attacks, Gigi Donnaruma was there to stop them. The 22-year-old, a future PSG player, is in the tradition of the great Italian goalkeepers and he kept his team from scoring early on when Kevin de Bruyne forced a save from the keeper. After that, his teammates woke up and made Courtois' net tremble. First Barella mystified the Belgian defense before sending an unstoppable shot into the net (31st). Then Lorenzo Insigne sent a wonderful curling shot into the top corner of the net (44').

Belgium reacted quickly to a penalty taken by Doku and converted by Lukaku just before half-time (45th). It was anticipated that after the break, the Belgians would accelerate the pace to come back to the score. But the Italians were there to stop it. Once again, Italy has won collectively in this Euro. In the semi-final, they will meet Spain. Nine years ago, in the final of this competition, the Italians were blown away 4-0 by La Roja. So there is revenge to be on 6 June in London. In any case, Italy is on a 32-game unbeaten streak. It promises to be a good one.

 

Philemon MBALE

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