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Emanuele Giulianelli’s Belgium v Italy preview: How will the Azzurri stop Romelu Lukaku?

| 01.07.2021

Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Italy throughout Euro 2020

To kneel, or not to kneel, that is the question. Because, if you take a glance at the Italian press or media in general, you wouldn’t realize that Roberto Mancini and his team are about to play a crucial match in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 against Belgium.

It looks like every attention is focused on whether or not the Azzurri will take the knee before the kick-off as a sign of support Black Lives Matter campaign.

Despite this media short-circuit, Italy will face Belgium in Munich with the outlook of reaching a winnable semi-final, now that France, the tournament favourites previously, have been eliminated by Switzerland, very much against the odds.

The number one danger for Italy will be, of course, the well-known Romelu Lukaku, winner of last season’s Serie A with Inter: the real tactical question is will Mancini employ special marking for the Belgian number 9, or keep on with his tested defensive line-up?

I expect the recovered Chiellini to take his place next to Bonucci, with Di Lorenzo and Spinazzola on their sides; no changes are expected in the midfield trio of Barella, Verratti and Jorginho, while Chiesa could take the place of Berardi on the right side of the attacking line. Immobile and Insigne will complete the starting eleven.

It won’t be an easy match for Italy, but if they want to prove their ambitions, Belgium is the right opponent at the right time: a victory could be the definitive springboard for the Azzurri towards the Wembley final. And they have all it takes to overcome even this tough opponent.

Check out the latest Euro 2020 odds.



Emanuele Giulianelli

Emanuele Giulianelli is an Italian journalist and writer. He features in some of the biggest magazines, websites and newspapers in the world, including Corriere della Sera, The Sun, Four Four Two, Panenka, Gazzetta dello Sport, Tribal Football.

The Italian football journalist has written pieces which have been included in FIFA’s official magazine: The Weekly and AFC website. He has also been a correspondent for Reuters.

Emanuele has published six books and is a regular opinionist for BBC World Radio. Recently, he has published two kids’ book, one about Ibrahimovic and the other, Lukaku.