Belgium might be the number one side in the world, but the galvanized Azzurri are a treat to watch under the tutelage of Roberto Mancini. Italy were electrifying once more in the Allianz Arena as they left the Red Devils shell-shocked with two stellar goals (from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne) in the first half. Romelu Lukaku pulled one back from the spot moments before the break, however, the Belgians failed to script a comeback in the second half and got knocked out of the tournament.
Below are the Belgium players rated in their 2-1 defeat against Italy.
Thibaut Courtois: 5.5
Could have done little to stop Barella and Insigne. Had a busy outing against the high-flying Italy side even though he was not forced to make any world-class save during the tie.
Toby Alderweireld: 5
Struggled to deal with Insigine’s pace and flair from the right-hand side of Belgium’s ‘back three’. Should have done a lot better to stop Leonardo Spinazzola’s runs, crosses and cut insides.
Thomas Vermaelen: 6.5
The 35-year-old centre-half used his experience against the free-flowing Italians. Tried to keep things calm in the heart of the backline and made some crucial tackles, recoveries and clearances.
Jan Vertonghen: 5.5
The Benfica centre-half was kept on his toes by Federico Chiesa and Barella. They kept on combining from the flank forcing Thorgan Hazard to concentrate more on his defensive duties.
Thomas Meunier: 6
Had a tough time defending against the majestic Insigne and Spinazzola. Restricted his usual overlapping runs and was eventually taken off to be replaced by Nacer Chadli.
Youri Tielemans: 6
Maintained a high passing accuracy, but the Leicester City star was mostly predictable with his movements and link-up play. His dribbles and down the middle runs lacked the end product. Made way for Dries Martens midway through the second half.
Axel Witsel: 6.5
Was combative in the centre of the pitch. Covered a lot of ground and worked tirelessly. But he could not dominate a midfield of Marco Verratti and Jorginho.
Thorgan Hazard: 6
His wonder goal against Portugal earned them a place in the quarter-final. But the Borussia Dortmund star could not offer much going forward despite changing the flanks.
Kevin De Bruyne: 7.5
Was handed a start in spite of injury concerns. Tested Gianluigi Donnarumma in the first half, also kept on creating chances with his trademark passing from the midfield.
Jeremy Doku: 8
The most impressive Belgian on the pitch. The teenager not only earned the spot-kick but also kept on causing menace from the left-hand flank. Although his decision making could have been better at times, the nation must feel proud for producing yet another amazing talent.
Romelu Lukaku: 7
Converted from the spot. Tested Donnarumma in the first half, however, wasted a glorious opportunity to find the equalizer when Spinazzola made a goal-line stop.
Belgium Substitutes Vs Italy
Dries Mertens: 5
Had a disappointing tournament as he failed to leave an impression once again.
Nacer Chadli: NA
Suffered an injury minutes after coming on and was forced to make way for Praet.
Dennis Praet: 5
Came on in place of Chadli but failed to make any difference either.