Date: June 13, 2016

Result: Belgium 0 Italy 2


Belgium: none

Italy: Giaccherini 32, Pelle 90

Venue: Stade de Lyon, Lyon

Match overview:

Italy won the first clash of tournament heavyweights, beating Belgium in Lyon thanks to Emanuele Giaccherini’s first-half goal and a late Graziano Pelle strike. Belgium’s makeshift defence struggled to cope with the tactical framework laid down by Italy coach Antonio Conte. The Italian defensive blanket, secured with a series of late, cynical tactical fouls, rarely allowed Belgium’s talented individuals any space. When Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard found space, the finishing of Romelu Lukaku and his replacement Divock Origi, let them down.

Key moments:

Emeuele Giaccherini’s goal. A long, Pirlo-esque pass over the top from Leonardo Bonucci that Belgium’s makeshift defence failed to deal with. Toby Alderweireld allowed the ball to pass over him, Giaccherini controlled with first touch, scored with his second.

Man of the match:

Leonardo Bonucci teed up Giaccherini for Italy’s goal and played a dominant role in the centre of Italy’s back three.

Matter of fact:

Belgium’s starting line-up cost their clubs £226.85m in transfer fees.

Talking point:

On paper, Belgium had more natural talented than the Italians. But Italy coach Antonio Conte deployed a defensive-minded formation that nullified Belgium’s key individuals. In contrast, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots’ tactics were baffling. Though denied first-choice centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nic Lombaerts through injury, he again ignored one of the Premier League’s best central defensive partnerships, Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Instead Vertonghen deployed at left-back and Alderweireld paired with Thomas Vermaelen in the middle. Alderweireld was left exposed for Giaccherini’s goal as the ball floated over his head and none of his defensive team-mates arrived to provide any cover.


Goal attempts

Belgium 18

Italy 11

Attempts on target

Belgium 2

Italy 6


Belgium 8

Italy 6



01 Thibaut Courtois

02 Toby Alderweireld

03 Thomas Vermaelen

04 Radja Nainggolan (14 Dries Martens 62)

05 Jan Vertonghen

06 Axel Witsel

07 Kevin De Bruyne

08 Marouane Felleini

09 Romelu Lukaku (17 Divock Origi 72)

10 Eden Hazard

23 Laurent Ciman (11 Yannick Carrasco 76)

Starting line-up: 4-2-3-1

Courtois – Ciman, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen – Witsel, Nainggolen – De Bruyne, Fellaini, Hazard – Lukaku


01 Gianluigi Buffon

03 Giorgio Chiellini

04 Matteo Darmian (02 De Mattia Sciglio 58)

06 Antonio Candreva

09 Graziano Pelle

15 Andrea Barzagli

16 Daniele De Rossi (10 Thiago Motta 78)

17 Eder (11 Ciro Immobile 75)

18 Marco Parolo

19 Leonardo Bonucci

23 Emanuele Giaccherini

Starting line-up: 3-5-2

Buffon – Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini – Candreva, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, Darmian – Eder, Pelle

Yellow cards:

Belgium: Vertonghen 90

Italy: Chiellini 65, Eder 74, Bonucci 78

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Eng)

Attendance: 55,408