Italy has penetrated the dream of the Red Devils. The Italians made the difference in surrender and in technique, although the Belgians also had chances. Our analysts reveal the pain points: 4 reasons why Belgium lost.
Italian pressure and technique make the difference
After a good start, the Red Devils had to submit to the match. This had two reasons: the high pressure and intensity of Italy and the technical superiority of the Italian midfielders.
Italy puts pressure on almost the entire match. “It’s the only team in this European championship that has been in the lead and yet they went up and chased high,” says Gert Verhein. “They keep doing it until the 75th minute and that makes the defense very difficult. Then you don’t get good balls up front and you have to fight for it every time.”
Yuri Tillmans, in particular, has sunk into the midfield. Peter Vandenbett: “Italy played with intensity, dedication and discipline and combined it with impressive technique. Belgium excelled in technique.”
De Bruyne and Doku didn’t hit the ball enough
Belgium couldn’t control the midfield and so our crucial players didn’t show enough in the match. “You have to get the guys who should make the difference for you – Dooku, De Bruyne and Lukaku – more on the ball.”
“If you look at the number of ball contacts: Barilla, Insigne and Verratti had nearly twice as many chances to do something,” Verhein says.
Doku can make the difference with his speed. “But he didn’t get many phases to do it: 4 times before the first half and 4 times after the first half. That’s not much and you have to make do with it. If you have 60% of the ball, you can double that. Chances.”
Lukaku missed chances after the break: ‘You have to go in’
The quarter-finals of the European Championship are determined by detail and competence. “You can only say that Italy was better. I’m not saying we couldn’t win 2-2.”
Then we think about Lukaku’s chances after the break. “This opportunity should always come, you have to create such opportunities. We had our moments, but we didn’t take advantage of them,” says Frankie van der Elst.
“Benteke’s entry in the 97th minute, that’s ridiculous”
Roberto Martinez waited a long time to bring in new troops. The contribution of Mertens and the substitutions of El-Shazly and Brett surprised our analysts. Carrasco, who has been crucial to Atletico this season in the title race, remained on the bench.
“It’s clear that some men have less credit than others,” Verhein says. “That’s a hallmark of every coach. No coach will admit it, but you always have players who give you more. I was also expecting Carrasco, but you can never prove if it makes a difference.”
A strange picture also at the 97th minute: My Benteke is ready to be filled. Van der Elst asks: “If you take a Benteke with you, isn’t that how he defines such situations?”. “But not in the 97th minute, that’s ridiculous.”
Verheyen agrees. “Italy presents a defender (Toloi) to the striker (Cheiza) in the 91st minute. After half a minute you can bring an additional striker for a defender, right?”