From the early minute of the match between Belgium and Italy, Leonardo Bonucci thought he had put Italy ahead but he was judged to be offside by VAR. A fitness doubt before the match, Kevin De Bruyne almost rewarded Roberto Martínez’s faith as he tested Gianluigi Donnarumma. Moments later, Romelu Lukaku had a similar opportunity, weaving past the Italian defence before his shot was saved.
After Bonucci’s strike was chalked out, Italy broke the deadlock legitimately this time as Nicolò Barella showed impressive footwork and matched it with a precise finish with his laces past Thibaut Courtois. Roberto Martínez's side was then shell-shocked as Lorenzo Insigne doubled Italy’s lead with a well-executed curling effort past the helpless Belgian goalkeeper.
However, Belgium were given a lifeline in the form of a penalty after Giovanni Di Lorenzo had nudged over Jérémy Doku. All-time record goal scorer Lukaku duly delivered with a composed spot-kick. Defending their precarious lead in the second half, Leonardo Spinazzola made a gladiator-like block to deny Lukaku who had the goal at his mercy but failed to convert. Belgium continued to threaten with the recently introduced Nacer Chadli causing problems via a dangerous cross, though that would be his only action as he was forced off with injury after just three minutes.
The game became disjointed as fatigue kicked in but Doku, the youngest player to start in a knockout match for Belgium, almost used his youthful exuberance to force a late goal when his shot sailed narrowly over the bar. Italy, renowned for their art of defending, resolutely protected their lead as they closed out the ‘Red Devils’ to secure a semi-final tie against