Belgium exited Euro 2020 after Italy won a pulsating quarter-final by a 2-1 scoreline on Friday night.
Leonardo Bonucci thought he had an early opener after chesting in a free-kick delivery, only to be denied by an offside call. The match continued to be hugely engaging and fast-paced, with Italy pressure and half-sights of goal countered by Belgium on the break with regularity.
Nicolo Barella eventually found the breakthrough on the half-hour mark with a rifled finish after some great footwork in the box. The first half was relentless, Lorenzo Insigne curling in a top-corner second, before Jeremy Doku won and Romelu Lukaku converted a penalty right before half-time.
Leonardo Spinazzola and Insigne went close at one end after the break, while Lukaku almost netted another at the other – Spinazzola blocking his effort on the line – and Doku smashed one over the bar after taking on three defenders, but Italy held on to progress.
Here are the player ratings from the game in Munich.
Thibaut Courtois – 6. Strong aerially but no chance on Barella’s finish.
Toby Alderweireld – 6. Stood up well to the task of containing Insigne for a while, but nowhere near his man for the goal.
Thomas Vermaelen – 6. Along with Alderweireld, backed off too far for too long for Insigne’s goal. Passed out well but might have come off worse had Immobile not had an off-night.
Jan Vertonghen – 5. Poor in possession for the opener. Defended well at times but was the most susceptible of the three to being beaten one on one.
Thomas Meunier – 6. Most of the Italy attacks came down his side and he had a lot of ground to cover. Didn’t always fare too well against the speed of movement and passing.
Youri Tielemans – 6. Booked in the first half and was a little on the periphery at times, had to be hard-working to cover a lot of ground.
Axel Witsel – 7. Held fort in the middle as well as possible and came very deep to try and start passing moves for his team.
Thorgan Hazard – 6. Belgium couldn’t get him as involved as they would have liked on the counter-attack.
Kevin de Bruyne – 7. Irrepressible on the break and almost scored a worldie early on. Did seem to tire somewhat in the second half and a few passes went astray when the game looked to be opening up for him.
Jeremy Doku – 8. Quiet early on, then seemed to realise he was quicker than everyone else on the pitch. Won a penalty, left Verratti for dust on another occasion and took the game to the Italians down the left. Almost hit the goal of the tournament with a solo dribble late on.
Romelu Lukaku – 7. After a positive start he was marginalised for a while by Italy’s centre-backs and lack of Belgium build-up play. Netted the penalty and almost another in the second half, which was blocked on the line.
Subs: Nacer Chadli (5), Dries Mertens (6), Dennis Praet (6)
Gigi Donnarumma – 7. Massive save from De Bruyne, then clawed one away from Lukaku.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 7. Beaten by the Doku afterburners to concede the penalty. Some very good runs forward as always though.
Leonardo Bonucci – 8. Some fantastic passing to go alongside his great positional work.
Giorgio Chiellini – 7. Tremendous battle with Lukaku. Stood up to the task well.
Leonardo Spinazzola – 8. Didn’t get as high as often as previously in this game, but his few occasions in the final third did produce chances. Made a fantastic block on the line to deny Lukaku.
Jorginho – 8. Excellent as always with the Azzurri, controlling from deep and covering at the back when required.
Nicolo Barella – 8. After a below-par outing last time, he was excellent here. Scintillating footwork in the box for the goal.
Marco Verratti – 7. Quiet in spells but kept his team on the front foot with really quick, incisive passing to keep Belgium’s double-pivot twisted and on the run.
Federico Chiesa – 8. Aggressive and powerful, always looking for space to shoot in the box. Took on his man regularly and was a great outlet.
Ciro Immobile – 5. A poor first touch frequently cost his team attacking momentum early on. Then spurned a great chance to tee up a team-mate, instead blasting into a crowd himself.
Lorenzo Insigne – 8. Tried his luck with classic bending efforts toward the top corner – then nailed the second. Such quality with some clipped passes into the box – for Spinazzola in particular.
Subs: Bryan Cristante (6), Andre Belotti (6), Emerson Palmieri (6), Domenico Berardi (6), Rafael Toloi (6)
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