Belgium defeat Italy 1-0 to secure final quarter-finals slot in Euro 2022


Italy and Belgium went head-to-head in hopes of securing their place in the Euro 2022 quarter-finals.

With just one place in the quarter-finals up for grabs, Italy and Belgium went into the match with the knowledge that, if France beat Iceland, they held the chance to take on Sweden, the leaders of Group C.

Italy got the game underway and with just over a minute on the clock, they had already begun their attack on Belgium’s defences, Cristiana Girelli firing the ball at Nicky Evrard who saved without issue.

Tessa Wullaert and Elena Dhont would prove to be a spanner in the works for Italy’s defence, able to make strong runs down the side, with Wullaert’s ability to cross the ball into the box emphasised in the first half.

Despite Italy’s immediate attack, Belgium looked calm and collected on the ball. However, as the game drew on, their control faded while Italy’s brutal attacks became more common by the end of the first half.

The first half would draw to a close on equal terms, with the quality in front of goal a clear improvement needed to be made if either side hoped to escape the group stages.

Belgium would start the second half, before Italy quickly resumed the ball and their aggressive bombardment of their rival’s defence.

Credit: Red Eye Photo Agency

Despite this, after three minutes of play, a free kick for Belgium delivered the ball into the box. After a period of being in the air, the ball dropped to the feet of Tine De Caigny who smashed the ball into the net, her first goal of Euro 2022.

Italy would quickly respond, Girelli firing the ball against the post. With the pressure on, the Italians would focus on building up and finding cracks in Belgium’s formation, while their fans cheered them on from the stands.

Following a slide tackle gone wrong, Italy’s Lisa Boattin would be handed a yellow card. But their resolve remained, and more chances would come and go before the players would regroup with a second cooling break.

As the clock ticked down, with just 13 minutes left a well-timed run allowed Manuela Giugliano to take a shot. Crucially, the ball would skate past the post, leaving Belgium still on top.

Although their opponents were more brutal throughout, Belgium’s ability to sit back and respond to whatever was thrown at them proved crucial. In the first of seven added minutes, the squad narrowly missed the chance to extend their lead to 2-0, with Wullaert’s effort narrowly striking the post.

Multiple corners for Italy would see Belgium defend valiantly to secure their place in the quarter-finals, with huge celebrations starting immediately after the whistle blew.

The team secured their first-ever place in the quarter-finals of a major competition and will now face Sweden on Friday, following Iceland’s 1-0 defeat to France.

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt


About Author

Comments are closed.