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Italy defeat Belgium 2-1 to set up semi-final clash with Spain in EURO 2020

Photo: UEFA

Munich, July 3 (MNN) Italy’s breezed into the semi-finals of the UEFA EURO 2020 by defeating Belgium 2-1 in the quarter-finals, and will clash with Spain which got the better of Switzeland.

Italy were helped by goals from Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Insigne, whose splendid finish from the edge of the box made the difference.

Leonardo Bonucci had an early finish as he was ruled out for offside, but Belgium initially looked the sharper side, despite the absence of the injured Eden Hazard. Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku both tested Gianluigi Donnarumma before Barella made the breakthrough on 31 minutes, wriggling through two challenges to fire a shot past Thibaut Courtois.

Italy’s movement overwhelmed Belgium at times, and they were set to take a 2-0 lead into the break when Lorenzo Insigne bent a glorious shot past Courtois from the edge of the box.

However, Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s foul on Jeremy Doku gave the Red Devils a chance from the penalty spot, and Lukaku took it, sending a firm, low finish, straight down the middle.

That De Bruyne-Lukaku axis carried much of Belgium’s threat, the big striker denied by some heroic defending from the hare-footed Leonardo Spinazzola on the hour. Even so, Italy’s mighty energy levels meant they offered a threat from all over the park, pouring men forward in search of a killer third and buzzing around Belgium every time they threatened.

Chances kept coming in the second half, the best of them for Belgium. Thorgan Hazard could not quite turn a close-range tap-in on target, and Doku had a swashbuckling effort from distance, but the Red Devils were continually put off their final touch as Roberto Mancini’s side harried them. Their final throw of the dice was to send goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois up for a last-gasp corner – to no avail.

Italy and Spain will now clash at the Wembley’s in London on July 6.

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