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Belgium 0 - Italy 2

Monday, 13th June

Italy may have won the World Cup four times but they have only been crowned European champions once. No such pedigree for Belgium but going into this match they were ranked number one in the world, by FIFA.

With Italy manager, Antonio Conte taking over at Chelsea after the tournament; this was the chance for Belgium players Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard to impress their new boss early.

Italy started the match with real determination. Without a great goal scorer but a very experienced defence, they probably wanted to get in front early and then sit back.

Gianluigi Buffon, playing in his eighth major tournament, still showed great agility and a commanding presence on his line to deny Belgium.

The Italian strategy paid off in the 32nd minute when Emanuele Giaccherini rounded Toby Alderweireld, who played so well at Tottenham this season, to connect with a long pass; guide the ball past Thibaut Courtois and wheel around, pumping his chest in primate-like jubilation.

A couple of minutes later, Graziano Pelle really should have doubled Italy's lead, after a mix-up in the Belgian defence.

Half-time: Belgium 0 - Italy 1

Belgium had to take the game to Italy and Romelu Lukaku probably would have scored in the top corner, early in the second-half, had it not been for Gianluigi Buffon coming off his line, narrowing the angle, and closing the Belgian striker down quickly.

Lukaku didn't do well enough with the one chance he had and was duly booed by the Belgian fans; when he was replaced by Liverpool's Divock Origi, with almost twenty minutes left to play.

Origi added a little something extra to the Belgium attack but frustration started to get the better of them

To rub salt in their wounds, Graziano Pelle added a second goal for Italy in injury time. Italy top Group E and Belgium sit at the bottom.

It's a team game and Italy, as a team, totally destroyed the number one ranked team of talented individuals. One of the best games Italy have played in a long time.

Group E in Lyon.

Travel to Belgium Travel to Italy

Final Score: Belgium 0 - Italy 2

0:1 (Emanuele Giaccherini, 32)
0:2 (Graziano Pelle, 90+2)

1-Thibaut Courtois;
23-Laurent Ciman, 2-Toby Alderweireld, 3-Thomas Vermaelen, 5-Jan Vertonghen;
6-Axel Witsel, 4-Radja Nainggolan, 7-Kevin De Bruyne, 8-Marouane Fellaini;
10-Eden Hazard, 9-Romelu Lukaku.

1-Gianluigi Buffon;
6-Antonio Candreva, 15-Andrea Barzagli, 19-Leonardo Bonucci, 3-Giorgio Chiellini, 4-Matteo Darmian;
18-Marco Parolo, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 23-Emanuele Giaccherini;
9-Graziano Pelle, 17-Eder.

Euro 2016 in France.

Michel - Founder of TravelNotes.org and Meta-Travel.com