Why Italy vs Belgium is the biggest matchup of the event
The European Championships’ Round of 8 is set with four solid matchups in place. However, there is no game bigger than Belgium vs Italy which are the two favourites to win the trophy. It will be a clash of the titans because these two teams have not lost a game.
Before the event started, Belgium was seen as the top favourite for the trophy. They had an insane amount of talent with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, the Hazard brothers and many more. On the other hand, Italy was on an unbeaten streak but they haven’t proven their worth just yet in a big event.
Now that they’re past the group stage and the Round of 16, it is obvious these two teams are the best in the field. The Netherlands and France were supposed to be here as well but they fell in their Round of 16 games.
Their journeys towards the Round of 8
Both of these teams went unbeaten during the group stage. It also matters that their groups were pretty tough which means they’re playing at the highest level. Belgium has a well-rounded team that is mostly centred around their offence. However, their defence has not gotten the same attention as other teams because Thibaut Courtois has done a magnificent job as the goalkeeper.
On the other side, Italy has been dominant. All of their players are locked in and you can see they are ready for any team they play against. Belgium is the latest team in their sights but this is a tough game for either team. This will most likely be the best game of the tournament because both teams are equally matched. However, some injuries can tip the momentum to Italy.
KDB and Eden Hazard were forced to the sidelines during their match against Portugal. This throws a wrench into the battle because those two are the most prominent leaders on the team alongside Lukaku.
Belgium head coach Roberto Martínez is positive about the results and they will be in the matchday squad. He said, ‘I can communicate that the initial information that we have from the medical department is quite positive for both. Eden and Kevin will remain with the squad. We hope that over the next few days we will recover them pretty quickly’.
Will this match decide the winner of the event?
Since these two teams are branded as favourites, this game can potentially decide who is going to win the European Championships. Since defending champs Portugal and reigning world champs France are both out, this will be a brand new team atop the European stage.
With both KDB and Eden out, you can expect Italy to be the favourite heading into the game. That can quickly change because Belgium has Lukaku and he can turn a team’s fortunes around with a strong performance. He is the ace goal scorer for this team and if he can keep it up, there is no stopping Belgium from winning the trophy.
With the likes of Federico Chiesa and Ciro Immobile on the squad, Italy will play at a high level. They are not the widely-known favourites but you can expect them to win. They also have a complete and healthy lineup compared to Belgium who has two of their main stars on the bench and possibly out completely.
Words: Cholo Martin