Italy – Belgium Predictions
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Italy 2-1 Belgium
Date: 10.10.2021 | Match at: 14:00 | League: UEFA Nations League – League A – Play Offs – 3rd place | Tip: Under 3.5 Goals | Odds: 1.36 | Bookie: Unibet.
Italy – Belgium Match Preview
- All good things must come to an end, and that was true of Italy’s world record 37 game unbeaten run as they were defeated 2-1 by Spain in the semi-final of this edition’s UEFA Nations League (UNL). With these finals held in Italy, a double helping of fans booing Gianluigi Donnarumma after his transfer from Milan to PSG and Leonardo Bonnuci’s first-half sending off made it extremely difficult for Italy to keep their precious run intact.
- While Italy play for pride here in this third-place play-off, they’ll be keen to redeem themselves by extending their excellent previous home H2H form (W7, D4, L1) versus FIFA’s current highest ranked nation. To do so, they will have to rediscover the hunger that saw them win Euro 2020, during which the ‘Azzurri’ made it past Belgium in the quarter finals (2-1).
- It was disappointment yet again for Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’, who despite their #1 world ranking, failed again in their bid to win some long overdue silverware. They stole defeat from the jaws of victory last time out as Romelu Lukaku’s late strike was ruled out courtesy of a slim offside decision, before France completed their comeback at the death (2-3).
- Consequently, Belgium are still ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’, as they seek a second third-placed medal under Roberto Martínez after grabbing the bronze at the 2018 World Cup. Whatever happens, needing extra time could prove unlikely here as Belgium are currently on a ten-game run of games without witnessing a stalemate (W8, L2).
- Key battle: Donnarumma should take less flak from fans here after the team left Milan. The towering stopper was crucial in their last two penalty shootouts (if it does go that far) and has a better penalty-saving rate (34%) than Buffon. Trying to beat him will be Lukaku, arguably amongst the best strikers in world football as he’s failed to score in just two of his last nine internationals.
- Hot stat: Just one of Belgium’s last 12 matches produced a goalless first half.