Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Italy edge Belgium in thriller to reach Euro 2020 semis

Italy edge Belgium in thriller to reach Euro 2020 semis

MUNICH (Reuters) – Italy reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals with a thrilling 2-1 win over Belgium as first-half goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne settled a gripping encounter against the number one-ranked team in the world on Friday.

Barella fired the opener after 31 minutes before Insigne's wonderful curling strike doubled Italy's advantage on the brink of halftime.

Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for Belgium in first-half stoppage time with a penalty but neither side could find another goal and Roberto Mancini's exciting side held on for a 13th straight win, extending their record unbeaten run to 32 games.

"I don't think we suffered too much at any moment of the game. To beat a team like Belgium, you need a great performance from everybody and that's exactly what happened today," Italy's manager Mancini said.

Luis Enrique's Spain side squeezed past Switzerland 3-1 in a penalty shootout earlier on Friday after their battling opponents clung to a 1-1 draw after extra time despite going down to 10 men.

"We didn't have a minimum goal, we wanted to do our best. The road is still long, there are two games to go, we will see what happens," Mancini said. "Spain? Let's enjoy this victory, then we'll think about it. Congratulations to my boys, they were very good."