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Thorgan Hazard’s goal was enough to see off Portugal as Belgium overcame the defending champions 1-0 in Seville to set up another mouth-watering clash.
Italy left it late in their game against Austria and may be considered slightly fortunate to have taken the game into extra-time as Marko Arnautovic’s free header was ruled out for offside before Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina’s goals saw the Azzurri through.
That’s now 31 matches unbeaten for Roberto Mancini’s men, who haven’t conceded a goal within 90 minutes in their last 12 outings and there’s no doubt they’ll be incredibly tough to break down.
It should be noted that they’ve faced very few sides of elite quality recently though and although the likes of Austria, Wales and Switzerland are of a good standard, Belgium will be a different test for this Italian side.
Indeed, up against the best sides they’ve played (Netherlands, Portugal, France, England, Argentina, and Spain) going back to September 2017, they’re just W1-D4-L4, so Belgium might just fancy their chances here as the number one side in the world.
Both Teams To Score (No)
We’ve become accustomed to seeing this Belgian side dismantle teams over the years, though more recently it’s as though they’ve slightly gone off the boil in front of goal.
Indeed, in 2019, they scored three or more goals in 80% of their matches, though since then that figure has dropped to just 29% from their 17 matches.
That’s not to say they haven’t been getting results though, winning 23 of their last 27 outings despite playing all of Denmark (three times), England (three times) and Portugal in that run.
It’s likely that this is going to be a game of fine margins, with both teams defensively sound and very rarely getting overrun, though head-to-head history would suggest otherwise.
Two goals have separated the teams in each of the last five meetings, all ending either 2-0 or 3-1, with the Italians winning 2-0 in the most recent meeting which came at the 2016 Euros, with Belgium field eight players in that game that also started their last 16 tie against Portugal on Sunday.
However, we’d be inclined to take the margin of victory across those matches with a pinch of salt with these sides having only met twice since 2008, and we’d still expect this to be a tighter game.
The ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ bet looks too short to get behind on this occasion, though a both teams not to score bet appeals at a slightly longer price. Italy’s defensive record speaks for itself, while Belgium have seen that bet land in six of their last eight outings against sides in the top 10 in the world rankings.