This is arguably the tie of the quarter-final stage and one of these much-fancied nations’ Euro journey will end on Friday evening. Neither were overly convincing at the round of 16 stage, although this is a clean slate for both teams.
Italy were the better side throughout, however, they required extra time to overcome a dogged and obstinate Austria outfit. It was the first time that the Azzurri had struggled to find their rhythm in the final third, however, their strength-in-depth paid dividends with two subs finally able to make the breakthrough.
Roberto Mancini has an embarrassment of riches to choose from, and although wholesale changes aren’t expected here, he may opt to make one or two tweaks.
Although Jorginho was the star of the show once again, Francesco Acerbi was also hugely impressive in the heart of the defence and he is likely to have his work cut out against Romelu Lukaku on Friday night. Although there is only one goal between these two sides (scored 8 and 9 respectively), Italy have had far more efforts on goal than their counterparts.
The Azzurri have fired in an average of 21 shots per game compared to the Red Devils’ 9.5. Belgium’s defence wasn’t put under too much scrutiny against Portugal, however, this is likely to be a much sterner test and I expect Mancini’s men to just about sneak through.Italy to Win in Extra Time - 9/1 at bet365