The UEFA Nations League third-place play-off serves up a repeat of this summer’s Euro 2020 quarter-final between Italy and Belgium. The Azzurri of course went on to win that tournament, but third spot is all that’s up for grabs at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Sunday afternoon.
Where and when: Allianz Stadium – 10 October, kick-off 14:00
Where you can see Italy vs. Belgium: Sky Sports
Last time: Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back for Belgium from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, but strikes from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne were enough to secure Italy a 2-1 victory over De Rode Duivels and safe passage to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
Italy v Belgium Predictions and Preview
It may be a revenge mission of sorts for Belgium, but a third-place play-off victory over Italy in the Nations League will provide scant solace for the disappointment of missing out on a place in the last four of Euro 2020. Even so, both sets of players need to pick themselves up for this game and put in a good performance at Juventus’s Allianz Stadium.
Given his reception at San Siro on Wednesday, where his every touch was booed by AC Milan supporters on account of his defection to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Gianluigi Donnarumma may be the only player to feel a small measure of relief not to be back at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday.
For this match represents a fixture few players want to fulfil, even if Belgium turned up for their third-place play-off victory over England at the last World Cup. The Red Devils will be keen to beat Italy this weekend, if only to banish the memory of their second-half collapse against France in midweek.
Roberto Martinez’s side looked to have taken the game away from the world champions with two goals in quick succession towards the end of the first half. However, Les Bleus stormed back in the second period, and Belgium were unable to handle the attacking impetus of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema and co.
Italy may not have quite the same quality in the final third, but they showed over the summer they can both go at teams or sit in and soak up the pressure before striking on the break. They did this to wonderful effect against Belgium, and the European champions are the 13/10 favourites to pick up the win here.
Roberto Mancini and his players were upbeat in the aftermath of their disappointing loss to Spain on Wednesday, a result that brought an end to their record 37-game unbeaten run. Even so, that would’ve hurt, especially given the circumstances of Leonardo Bonucci’s silly sending off.
The centre-back’s absence will be felt in this game, and it maybe makes the Les Diables Rouges a little more attractive at 5/2 in this Italy v Belgium preview. A draw at the end of 90 minutes is priced at 13/5, while away from the outright market, you can back Italy to win and both teams to score once again at 7/2.
One to watch for Italy: Federico Chiesa is the new darling of Italian football. He opened the scoring when these teams met in the summer, and could be worth a look to do so again in these Italy v Belgium predictions.
One to watch for Belgium: Romelu Lukaku scored a superb goal against France on Thursday and was a matter of inches from putting Belgium into the Nations League final. He’s always a significant goal threat and one to keep an eye on in the first scorer market.
Long shot: The Azzurri have a strong record against the Red Devils, winning four of the last five meetings between the countries. The European champions are available at 37/3 to repeat their 2-1 victory from the summer in these Italy v Belgium tips.