Italy wins the battle of the favourites against Belgium 2-1
In the battle of the two favourites to win the European Championships, Italy managed to pull out a close 2-1 win over Romelu Lukaku and a loaded Belgium side. Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne were the two goal-scorers to lead Italy while Lukaku scored the sole goal for Belgium.
Heading into the match, Italy was the favoured team because Belgium had two big injuries to stars Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. The two stars affected the result because their passing and goal-scoring power were needed to dictate the offence. While KDB played, he did not look healthy and some of his good moves were not enough to warrant his selection.
Barella scored the first goal in the 31st minute and it was a result of solid attacking football from Italy. Belgium tried to go on a run but it was ineffective since Italy managed to come back again and they scored again when Insigne kicked the ball into the net in the 44th minute.
Lukaku scored a penalty in the first-half’s extra time but that was the only goal they scored in this game which has led to their exit from the event.
Will Belgium be stronger in the future?
One of the main criticisms that were attached to Belgium is the age of their core lineup. Most of their squad is indeed ageing but they still have some players who can be good for the next big event. The World Cup is near and they will be a favourite in that tournament as well. Hopefully, they can use this core to keep up with the rest of the field since they’re still in the top tier of world football.
Lukaku himself is motivated and as Belgium’s star, he needs to be the example to follow. The striker is also inspired by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo who is a great star to emulate.
‘It's a motivation when you have someone in your league who can do that at that age’, Lukaku said. ‘There is no reason why I can't try to get to that level or as close to it as possible. In the last couple of years I showed that I'm also a top-class player. It was one of my goals, and I think I have achieved it. I have improved a lot in the last few years’.
Italy’s redemption continues
After a few years of underwhelming runs, Italy is back in the top tier of football. Since they just won this battle of the favourites, they are the number one team that people see winning this event.
It will be a hard task but it looks like they’re confident in themselves and Roberto Mancini’s system. They are strong on both ends of the pitch and they should be respected for what they’ve done so far.
Words: Cholo Martin