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Belgium vs Italy a few quick thoughts

  • Belgium went into the game with Italy as group favourites but on last night’s performance they certainly didn’t live up to that billing
  • Italy once again dismissed any speculation that they wouldn’t turn up at a major tournament by turning in an assured performance against the Belgians
  • Marc Wilmots’ selection for the starting lineup would have once again raised eyebrows as Mousa Dembele was left out and he once again decided not to mimic the fantastic centre back partnership they have at Tottenham with Vertonghen taking up the Left Back berth
  • You get the feeling that even with this Belgian side having so much talent at their disposal they will still fail to go and get success at a major tournament
  • As for Italy, they will come in for criticism for their tactical fouls
  • Yes they are clever but they obviously go against the spirit of the game but at this level it’s all about being pragmatic
  • But when Italy weren’t cleverly hauling down opponents they were outclassing the Belgians at every opportunity
  • Emmanuel Giaccherini opened the scoring after half an hour
  • An inch perfect pass from deep by Leonardo Bonucci found Giaccherini with enough time to set himself and put his finish past Thibaut Courteous
  • Graziano Pelle was a constant threat and he very well could have doubled Italy’s advantage soon after but his header went wide of the post
  • With Belgium 1-0 down at half time they had to find a way to get back into the game but they found themselves pinned back and had Jan Vertonghen to thank for some well executed tackles to keep them in the game
  • But when Belgium did have chances they were wasteful
  • An Italian move broke down and the counter attack was on, both Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were involved in the sweeping move which found Romelu Lukaku in acres of space
  • His first touch wasn’t ideal and with an onrushing Gianluigi Buffon charging off his line he could only hook his effort wide of the goal
  • Belgian Manager Wilmots then opted to bring both Dries Mertens and Divock Origi in a bid to turn the tide
  • Soon after Origi was presented with an even better opportunity but he fluffed his lines and so did Marouane Fellaini with the follow-up
  • With Belgium in search of an equaliser they left themselves exposed and Antonio Candevra surged forward and found himself in acres of space on the right side
  • He placed a perfect cross for Graziano Pelle to emphatically volley home to secure an opening win for Italy
  • It wasn’t nothing short of deserved and Antonio Conte will be more than happy for his side to fly under the radar but if they continue to play like this then they won’t be flying infected for long
  • Next up for Italy it’s Sweden while Belgium bottom of the group need a positive rezult against the Republic Of Ireland
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