Italy beat Belgium 2-1 in their quarter-final clash to qualify for the semi-final of Euro 2020

A stunning strike by Lorenzo Insigne fired Italy into the semi-finals of Euro 2020 on Friday as a 2-1 win over Belgium sent them through to a meeting with Spain.

Nicolo Barella struck the opening goal of the quarter-final in Munich before Insigne curled in Italy’s second in an action-packed first-half. Belgium grabbed a lifeline just before the break when Romelu Lukaku converted a penalty, but Roberto Martinez’s side ultimately fell short against a disciplined Italian defence. While Italy face Spain at Wembley on Tuesday

Spain’s coach Luis Enrique said. “We are so proud. It’d be ridiculous to think that we, or any of the semi-finalists, would sign for just getting that far now – all of us want to get to the final and win.”

In the other match, Leonardo Bonucci had an early finish ruled out for offside, but Belgium initially looked the sharper side, despite the absence of the injured Eden Hazard. Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku both tested Gianluigi Donnarumma before Nicolò Barella made the breakthrough on 31 minutes, wriggling through two challenges to fire a shot past Thibaut Courtois.

Italy’s movement overwhelmed Belgium at times, and they were set to take a 2-0 lead into the break when Lorenzo Insigne bent a glorious shot past Courtois from the edge of the box. However, Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s foul on Jeremy Doku gave the Red Devils a chance from the penalty spot, and Lukaku took it, sending a firm, low finish, straight down the middle.

That De Bruyne-Lukaku axis carried much of Belgium’s threat, the big striker denied by some heroic defending from the hare-footed Leonardo Spinazzola on the hour. Even so, Italy’s mighty energy levels meant they offered a threat from all over the park, pouring men forward in search of a killer third and buzzing around Belgium every time they threatened.

Chances kept coming in the second half, the best of them for Belgium. Thorgan Hazard could not quite turn a close-range tap-in on target, and Doku had a swashbuckling effort from distance, but the Red Devils were continually put off their final touch as Roberto Mancini’s side harried them. Their final throw of the dice was to send goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois up for a last-gasp corner – to no avail.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini sounded happy after the game. “I don’t think we suffered too much at any moment of the game. To beat a team like Belgium, you need a great performance from everybody and that is exactly what happened today.”

Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said, “I think we tried everything to win this match. They scored a fantastic goal, but the first one may have been a mistake on our part. They had more possession and the ball didn’t go in for us, which is a shame. Getting eliminated is always a disappointment.”

The Azzurri face Spain next in a mouth-watering semi-final clash.

Also Read: Euro 2020: Spain beat Switzerland out 3-1 on penalties to reach semi-finals

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