UEFA Nations League preview: Belgium and Italy lock horns for the 3rd place after semi-final disappointment

(Football news) After losing their semi-final games, Belgium and Italy look to end the tournament on a high with a 3rd place finish. A new change in format means that the match will go straight to penalties if the scores are level at the end of 90 minutes instead of the classic 30 minutes of extra time.

Both teams lost the semis due to one bad half. Italy had a terrible first half against Spain where they conceded 2 goals and lost the game there. Belgium on the other hand gave away a 2 goal lead to concede 3 against France. Roberto Martinez and Roberto Mancini will be hoping that their respective sides go out and end the tournament well to take that momentum into the World Cup next year.

Belgium Squad

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet.

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Timothy Castagne, Jason Denayer, Thomas Foket, Jan Vertonghen.

Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Alexis Saelemaekers, Youri Tielemans, Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel.

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Yannick Carrasco, Charles De Ketelaere, Romelu Lukaku, Dodi Lukebakio, Leandro Trossard.

Italy Squad

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alex Meret, Salvatore Sirigu.

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Emerson Palmieri, Rafael Toloi, Federico Dimarco.

Midfielders: Nicolo Barella, Bryan Cristante, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Marco Verratti.

Forwards: Domenico Berardi, Federico Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa, Moise Kean, Lorenzo Insigne, Giacomo Raspadori.

Belgium captain Eden Hazard has withdrawn from the squad after suffering yet another injury in the match against France. Leonardo Bonucci will be unavailable due to suspension after his red card against Spain. Apart from that the two teams are likely to go with the same starting XI.

This will be the first time these two sides meet since the Euro 2020 quarter-finals. Italy won that game 2-1 and were eventually crowned champions. The result could be completely different this time as Italy will be without their first choice striker and first choice centre-back.

Also read: France come back from a two goal deficit against Belgium to book a place in the UEFA Nations League final


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