Home Sport Belgium not intimidated by sizzling Azzuri

Belgium not intimidated by sizzling Azzuri

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Belgium’s Red Devils knocked out holders Portugal in the last round 1-0 and are desperate to live up to their top billing by getting their hands on a first international title.

Eden Hazard of Belgium (left) in action against Joao Moutinho of Portugal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 soccer match. Picture: EPA, Lluis Gene

TOP-RANKED Belgium and an Italy side unbeaten in 31 matches meet in the pick of the Euro 2020 quarter-finals at 9pm on Friday night.

Belgium’s Red Devils knocked out holders Portugal in the last round 1-0 and are desperate to live up to their top billing by getting their hands on a first international title.

To do that they have to beat the Azzurri, who needed extra time to beat Austria to book a trip to St Petersburg for the clash.

And with star players Kevin de Bruyne (ankle ligaments) and Eden Hazard (hamstring) “50-50” to play, according to reports, Youri Tielemans is ready to step up and fill the void.

Not afraid of big games, Leicester’s FA Cup final hero says: “We beat Portugal with just one shot on target.

“So we produce great football and we take the opportunities.

“I know their midfielders and have played against some of them. They have a lot of quality and I am looking forward to the battle in midfield. May the best team win.”

Italy striker Ciro Immobile, with two goals at the tournament, is looking to outgun Belgium goal machine Romelu Lukaku, who has three goals to his name and has tormented his teammates in Serie A with Inter.

Immobile says of their duel: “Lukaku] has improved a lot over the years, probably from working with coaches like [Antonio] Conte who helped him to perfect a few things he didn’t have.”

Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri adds: “Lukaku has always been a modern number nine, who knows how to protect the ball and attack spaces.

“He has also shown it in Italy and we have to be very careful.”

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