Tension to intensify in last eight

Two nations who narrowly made it through the round of 16 set up one of the most attractive quarter final ties. Italy somewhat stole the show in the group stage, scoring seven unanswered goals to attain the maximum nine points. Belgium too won all three of their group matches and were able to edge out reigning champions Portugal by a goal to nil to reach the last eight. The Italians have been boosted by the return of Paris Saint-Germain ace Marco Verratti in their last two games, however this saw Manuel Locatelli dropped from the side after some superb early tournament displays. Roberto Mancini has some positive selection dilemmas.

Background

It feels a shame that we will not be seeing both of these sides at the semi final stage, they have been a joy to watch in an otherwise lacklustre group stage. Roberto Martinez is still yet to reach a major final with Belgium’s golden generation, one of France, Switzerland, Croatia and Spain will stand in the way of the winner of this encounter in the path to the final. Italy are narrow favourites but the market has certainly moved after the injuries to Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard in their last match. It will be interesting to see if Juventus stalwart Giorgio Chiellini comes back in for Francesco Acerbi at centre back, but regardless alongside Leonardo Bonucci there is plenty of experience and knowhow in the pair. Romelu Lukaku has scored three goals at the tournament so far but has stood out for his all round game. Fresh off the back of winning the Scudetto with Inter Milan the former Chelsea and Manchester United is an enormous physical test for any defender.

Super substitutions in the form of Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina did the job with goals in extra time against Austria. Their contribution cannot be underestimated, Mancini has a greater arsenal from the bench should the match be level going into the closing exchanges. There was only one goal in normal time in both of these countries’ round of 16 ties combined, so using the Asian goal line is my recommended angle in.

This is a really exciting matchup for the neutral, Italy play with such verve and flair while Belgium boast one of the strongest rosters in the competition. It should be a treat.

Belgium - Italy Betting Tip

Under 2.25 Asian goals with Casumo at odds of 7/10 or 1.70.

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