Belgium’s Euro 2016 Group E clash with Italy looks likely to be a fascinating contrast of styles. The Belgian squad is packed with an astonishing array of attacking talent and neutrals will be hoping to see goals galore when these two teams lock horns in Lyon.
Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed a productive season in front of goal for both club and country and, having notched four goals in his last four appearances for Belgium, the 23-year-old striker looks set to be rewarded with a place in Wilmots’ starting line-up on Monday night.
Lukaku is bet365’s 5/1 (6.0) favourite to break the deadlock, while the 15/8 (2.88) quote offered up by the odds compilers for the Everton front man to find the net at any time against the Azzurri is likely to prove popular with punters.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard rarely sparkled for the Blues this season, but the 25-year-old scored four goals in the final five league games of the campaign, while the mercurial midfielder has notched six goals in his last 10 matches for his country.
If Hazard can produce that kind of scoring form, he will be a key figure for Wilmots’ men this summer and the 13/2 (7.50) quote for the Belgian captain to open the scoring is appealing, while the same firm go 12/5 (3.40) that Hazard makes his mark at any time.
Kevin De Bruyne was on target for Belgium in a 3-1 win over Italy back in November and the 24-year-old midfielder can be backed at a generous 13/5 (3.60) to repeat the feat here, while bet365 offer a chunky 7/1 (8.0) that De Bruyne bags the opening goal of the game.
Italy manager Antonio Conte could be forgiven for casting envious glances towards Wilmots’ attacking resources, for he cannot call upon the individual star quality that the Belgian boss has at his disposal.
Graziano Pelle has been a regular starter throughout Conte’s tenure and it seems certain that the Southampton striker will be asked to spearhead the Italian attack. The 30-year-old forward is available at 6/1 (7.0) to open the scoring here, while the same firm go 12/5 (3.40) that Pelle pounces at any time for the Italians.
Brazilian-born striker Eder was a surprise inclusion in Italy’s final 23-man squad, but the 29-year-old striker can go some to justifying his selection by scoring against Wilmots’ side at 11/4 (3.75), while Lazio winger Antonio Candreva, who scored from the spot in Italy's final warm-up match, is a 4/1 (5.0) chance to find the net at any time.
Both sides will be determined to start the campaign in a positive fashion but Belgium’s superior firepower gives them the edge and the 13/5 (3.60) quote from bet365 for De Bruyne to get amongst the goals offers excellent value for punters ahead of this crucial clash.