Belgium vs Italy July 2, 2021 Match preview and statistics

Roberto Martinez has his Belgian side on the verge of an even bigger semi-final in the tournament, but they will have to get through a highly favored Italian side to get there.

The Azzurri went through the group stage, but suffered a slight scare from being pushed to extra time by Austria in the last 16.

With France now away from their side of the draw, both sides will be aware that a win here could put them in a fantastic position to compete in the final at Wembley in just over a week’s time.

Belgium have the biggest team news coming into clashes on Friday night, with Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne both ruled out from injury.

The former was replaced in the final stages of Belgium’s 1-0 win over Portugal in the final round and it looked to grab hold of the hoarding, while De Bruyne was forced off just after the break after feeling hard on a Joao Palhinha -challenge.

In their place the two players who replaced them from the bench were Dries Mertens and Yannick Carrasco.

Outside of that, Martinez must continue with the tried and tested formula. Thomas Vermaelen was a surprising shot against Portugal, but the veteran was impressive against Portugal’s attacking weapon and had to earn himself a place again.

Thorgan Hazard’s screamer got the Red Devils into the quarterfinals and he was to continue in the left wingback where Youri Tielemans and Axel Witsel marched the midfield.

The question mark for Roberto Mancini hangs over the head of captain Giorgio Chiellini, who has not played since he was injured in the second group game against Switzerland.

If the Juventus defender is capable, a straight swap for Francesco Acerbi could be the only change for Italy with continuity and consistency ideal in the final stages of a tournament.

Mancini is likely to resist the temptation to start Italy’s two rounds of 16 goalscorers, Matteo Pessina and Federico Chiesa, who came off the bench to win the match against Austria.

Manuel Locatelli hopes to return to midfield, but Marco Verratti, Nicolo Barella must continue ahead of Jorginho in this division.

Ciro Immobile should lead the line, while the determined backline with Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Leonardo Spinazzola on his flanks is likely to be asked to go again.

Predicted XIs: Belgium vs Italy

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