Italy overcame late Belgium onslaught to come out victorious from the tie, as they book their tickets for a semifinal clash against Spain at Wembley.
Italy scored two in the first half, with only one in reply as they edged past the threatening Belgians who couldn’t manage an equaliser in the second half of the match. Nicolo Barella gave Italy the lead in the 32nd minute, with Lorenzo Insigne doubling their lead ten minutes later with a beautifully struck gaol from distance which flew into the top right corner. Belgium pulled one back just before halftime when Lukaku converted the penalty, but couldn’t find an answer late on, with Italy emerging the winners from the gruelling fixture.
Belgium Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois – 5/10
Nothing much to do about the two goals, but made some good saves to keep Belgium in the game.
Toby Alderweireld – 4.5/10
Looked tired and couldn’t stop the darting runs of the Italians wingers at times.
Thomas Vermaelen – 5.5/10
Did well to stop Immobile, but looked shaky at times. Didn’t close down Insigne early and offered him a swipe at the goal, conceding the second goal.
Jan Vertonghen – 4.5/10
Chiesa troubled him throughout the game. Wasn’t good on the ball, and gave away the ball cheaply which resulted in the first Italian goal.
Thomas Meunier – 4.5/10
Completely outdone by Spinazzola and Insigne on the right flank, being overpowered quite often and gave away possession.
Axel Witsel – 5.5/10
Couldn’t venture forward much as he had to stay back to fend out Italy’s constant threats. Lethargic and didn’t press much to strangulate possession.
Youri Tielemans – 5/10
Played in a far more deeper position than he is usually deployed at, and didn’t look quite comfortable. Some late challenges and was not found much on the ball.
Thorgan Hazard – 5.5/10
Couldn’t get going as usual, poor crosses and didn’t create much threat.
Jeremy Doku – 7/10
Livewire throughout the match. Terrorised the Belgian defence with his bursting runs and pace. Won the penalty which gave Belgium a breather.
Kevin De Bruyne – 6.5/10
Looked dangerous while he dashed forward with the ball and rotated the ball well, but couldn’t create as usual. Brilliant ball for Lukaku which he couldn’t score at the far post.
Romelu Lukaku – 6/10
Isolated at the front today for much of the game. slotted home from the spot to pull one back. Could have done better for the two late chances which fell his way.
Dries Mertens – 5.5/10
Nacer Chadli – N/A
Dennis Praet – 4/10
Italy Player Ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma – 7/10
Excellent save to deny De Bruyne late in the first half. Good saves under the bar and got out quick to fend out anything that came goalwards.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 5.5/10
Clumsy to give away the penalty with a rash tackle on Doku. Tough to keep up with Doku’s pace and runs but managed to keep him out somehow.
Giorgio Chiellini – 7/10
Was bothered by Lukaku early on but recovered well to soak up much of the pressure late on. Hooded headed clearances to keep out dangerous balls and threw himself at everything that came his way.
Leonardo Bonucci – 6.5/10
Solid and composed at the back as usual and was equally good with the long balls and initiated the play with balls to either flanks. Unlucky to be denied the opening goal due to offside.
Leonardo Spinazzola – 7/10
Contributed both on the attacking and defensive fronts equally. Made a crucial block of a Lukaku shot at the far post to deny a certain goal. Damaged his Achilles tendon and had to be subbed off late.
Marco Verratti – 7/10
Constantly dictated the tempo of the game throughout, and his playmaking abilities were again of the top notch. Relentless pressing and choked out the Belgian midfield.
Jorginho – 7.5/10
Made something happen almost everytime he got the ball at his feet. Crucial in the Italian midfield, carrying out both attacking and defending duties. Carried the ball and made play as week as dived deep to support his defence.
Nicolo Barella – 8/10
Lively in the midfield, with good passing and breaching of opposition lines. Skipper past two defenders to slot the ball into the far bottom corner excellently, giving Italy the lead.
Federico Chiesa – 6.5/10
Dangerous with the ball at his feet, and frequently raided the Belgian defence and put in dangerous crosses from the right, but could have done more.
Ciro Immobile – 4.5/10
The weaker link in Italy’s attack and wasn’t involved much as long as he was on pitch.
Lorenzo Insigne – 8/10
Wreaked havoc amongst the Belgian defenders with his run behind the lines and cutting inside frequently. Scored a peach of a goal with a strike from distance which ended in the top right corner.
Andrea Belotti – 5/10
Bryan Cristante – 5.5/10
Emerson Palmieri – 5.5/10
Domenico Berardi – 4.5/10
Rafael Toloi – N/A
Player Of the Match
Lorenzo Insigne – Italy (8/10)