Italy have progressed to the semifinal of the 2020 European championship after a hard-earned 1-2 victory over Belgium on Friday night.


The Italians welcomed back captain, Giorgio Chielini from injury while Belgium also saw Kevin De Bruyne pass fit for a starting spot after being substituted in their knockout round victory over France.

Eden Hazard on his part, however, was unable to recover in time and was replaced by teenage sensation, Jeremy Doku, who was surprisingly given the nod ahead of more experienced players like Dries Mertens and Nacer Chadli.

The game which was end-to-end finally produced the juice in the closing stages of the first half, with all three goals coming in the final 15 minutes.

Nicolo Barella scoring his first goal for Italy, opened the scoring in the 31st minute, before Lorenzo Insigne with a beaut of a goal doubled the former world Champion's lead.

Romelu Lukaku would cut the deficit to one in the final minute of added time converting from the penalty spot with his fourth goal of the competition, after Marco Veratti was adjudged to have fouled Jeremy Doku.

Italy will now face familiar foe, Spain in the semifinal.

Here are three things we learnt.

1 Exciting, unstoppable Italy

The Roberto Mancini-led side, aside from being exciting, have also been disciplined and compact, which is rare for an Italian side.

They have stretched their unbeaten run to 32 games in all competitions, winning 27 and drawing 5. Remarkably, 13 of those wins have come on the stretch.


Italy have now reached their 12th semifinal at a major tournament. Only Germany who have reached 20 semifinals have recorded more.

Interestingly, since 1984, they become the first team to go unbeaten at the European championship in their first five matches.

Do you think Italy can go all the way undefeated?

2. Unlucky golden generation

As rightly said by Belgium manager, Roberto Martinez in his post-match interview, "these players do not deserve to be out of this competition".


They were hoping to better their outing at the last world cup in Russia in 2018 where they came third, but will have to wait longer for a major trophy.

What do you think has been Belgium's problem on the big stage?

3. Exciting Doku

The 19-year old sensation was definitely a surprise inclusion by Martinez in the lineup and obviously repaid the faith the manager had in him as he caused Italy all sorts of troubles in the entire duration. This was evident as he won the penalty that was converted by Lukaku.


The teenage wonder who plies his trade with Rennes in the French Ligue 1 also made name and history for himself.

He became the youngest player to feature in a knockout game at a major tournament for Belgium. Not only that, he completed eight dribbles against the Italians, the highest ever by any teenager at this level.

What do you think of Doku's prospect?