Euro 2020 semi-final: Italy beat Belgium 2-1

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Quarter Final - Belgium v Italy - Football Arena Munich, Munich, Germany - July 2, 2021 Italy's players celebrate after the match Pool via REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

Italy has beaten Belgium 2-1 in Munich, underlining their status as tournament favourites after a pulsating Euro 2020 quarter-final of the highest quality.

First half goals to Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Insigne helped Italy to a 2-0 lead, before Romalu Lukaku reduced the deficit from the penalty spot just before the break.

Belgium had chances to equalise in a tense yet entertaining second half, but Italy’s defence held firm to put Roberto Mancini’s side into the semi finals, extending their unbeaten streak to 32 matches.

Italy will meet Spain at Wembley in the semi final after La Roja’s shootout victory over Switzerland earlier in the day.

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This match had been billed as the battle between the two favourites for the competition, and neither side disappointed in what was a thrilling contest from the outset.

Italy had the ball in the back of the net after 13 minutes, Leonardo Bonucci chesting home from a free kick, but Giorgio Chiellini, who had flicked the ball on, was offside.

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Belgium threatened early too, with Kevin de Bruyne and Romalu Lukaku both forcing brilliant saves from Gianluigi Donnarumma either side of that disallowed goal.

However, it was Italy who did eventually open the scoring when Barella scythed his way through the Belgian defence before slamming the ball past Thibaut Courtois in the 31st minute.

Italy doubled its lead thanks to a sumptuous solo strike of the highest quality from Insigne.