Football Features

“The little man playing a gigantic role” – Player ratings as Italy beat Belgium 2-1 in breathless Euro 2020 quarter-final

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:27, 2 July 2021 | Updated: 12:54, 5 July 2021

In a pulsating night of football, Italy beat Belgium 2-1 in the game of the tournament to advance to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

The match was played at an absolutely frenetic pace with Italy going two up before being pegged back by a Romelu Lukaku penalty. In the second-half the Belgians missed a couple of great chances to score as Italy held out.

Here’s how the players rated at the Allianz Arena:

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Belgium

Thibaut Courtois – 6 – Was mostly solid. Had no chance on the Italian goals.

Toby Alderweireld – 6 – Should have stepped up to confront Insigne for second goal. Blotted

Thomas Vermaelen – 8 – Left standing stock still by Barella for opener. The only “error” he made in an otherwise brilliant display at the heart of Belgium’s defence. 4 tackles, 5 clearances and 5 interceptions completed one hell of a stat-line for the former Barcelona man. Was let down by his two team-mates in the 101-year-old back-line.

Jan Vertonghen – 6 – Really poor cession of possession just ahead of Italy’s opening goal. Looked terrified of any Italian defender running at him. Good in possession, though.

Thomas Meunier – 5 – Really sloppy in possession. Subbed off as a result.

Youri Tielemans – 5 – Weak challenge in the lead-up to Italy’s second goal. Moved the ball around nicely but with none of the incision.

Axel Witsel – 7 – An impressive shift in the middle of midfield. Combated the Italians well and pushed the ball forward as best he could.

Thorgan Hazard – 7 – Relentless in defence, not quite as effective in attack.

Kevin De Bruyne – 7 – A really impressive performance. Ran the break like a beast, pulled some incredible saves from Donnarumma and fed the ball into deadly positions time and time again.

Jeremy Doku – 7 – Won the penalty with a superbly forceful bit of dribbling. Needed to do more of it.

Romelu Lukaku – 7 – A constant menace on the break. Emphatically dispatched his penalty but somehow missed a sitter from 2 yards out!

Substitutes:

Dries Mertens (for Tielemans 70′) – 6 – Instantly helped create a great chance but did nothing after that.

Nacer Chadli (for Meunier 70′) – 6 – Instantly created a golden chance and then sadly went down with a muscle injury.

Dennis Praet (for Chadli 74′) – 5 – Worked hard.


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Italy

Gianluigi Donnarumma – 8 – An absolute giant of a performance from Italy’s no. 1 – was flying all around his goal to deny Belgium.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 4 – Quite definitively lost his battle with Jeremy Doku. Made several tackles for sure, but never did manage to handle the winger. Conceded the penalty with a silly foul.

Leonardo Bonucci – 7 – Solid at the back.

Giorgio Chiellini – 8 – A brilliant display from Italy’s captain. A true lionheart and leader. Chiellini threw his body in the way every time Belgium came near the box. Moreover he played some outrageous passes as well, spraying it across the field.

Leonardo Spinazzola – 8 – A gargantuan performance from Italy’s left-back, highlighted by a massive block to deny Lukaku a tap-in on the hour, and almost scored a second minutes later as well. Tragically had to go off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Jorginho – 8 – Really tidy display at the base of midfield, pinging the ball around and pitching in defensively too.

Marco Verratti – 8 – A neat assist and some dogged tackles. Played well in general and got subbed off before he could have one of his classic meltdowns (having already tested the referee with a blatant off-the-ball foul when on a booking).

Nico Barella – 8 – A positive display. Opened the scoring with a ludicrous goal, freezing Thomas Vermaelen before blowing by him like he wasn’t there and then thundering the ball beyond Thibaut Courtois. Kept Belgium on the back-foot with intense play and if Immobile had been in better form, he could have made much more havoc.

Federico Chiesa – 7 – An absolute terror for the Belgian defence in the first-half. Every time he had the ball, the defenders were afraid of him; so much so that the commentator actually thought he had scored the opener. Faded notably in the second-half, though.

Lorenzo Insigne – 8 – Scored a quite simply electric second goal of the night as he curled a beauty of a strike beyond Courtois. Oh, and he did that after running 40 yards from inside his own half and dancing by Youri Tielemans. It was a genuinely brilliant strike, one of the goals of the tournament for a little man playing such a gigantic role for his nation.

Ciro Immobile – 4 – A really miserable night for the Italian. Nothing he tried came off.

Substitutes:

Bryan Cristante (for Verratti 74′) – 5 – Worked hard in midfield.

Andrea Belotti (for Immobile 74′) – 6 – Battled against the Belgian defence.

Domenico Berardi (for Insigne 79′) – 6 – Held the ball up well.

Emerson (for Spinazzola 79′) – n/a – Came on late.

Rafael Toloi (for Chiesa 90’+1) – n/a – Came on late.