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Key Events

90' + 2'
A. Candreva
Assist
90' + 2'
G. Pellè
Goal
90' + 1'
J. Vertonghen
Yellow Card
84'
T. Motta
Yellow Card
78'
T. Motta
D. De Rossi
78'
L. Bonucci
Yellow Card
75'
Y. Carrasco
L. Ciman
75'
C. Immobile
E. Martins
75'
E. Martins
Yellow Card
73'
D. Origi
R. Lukaku
65'
G. Chiellini
Yellow Card
62'
D. Mertens
R. Nainggolan
58'
M. De Sciglio
M. Darmian
32'
L. Bonucci
Assist
32'
E. Giaccherini
Goal
Kick Off
3
1
3
4

Stats

Possession
% %
6
3
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 3 6
Total Passes 525 412

Commentary

That's all for our live coverage from Lyon, thank you for following along. Goodbye!
Italy open their Euro 2016 campaign in clinical fashion as they put in a defensive masterclass to defeat the number two ranked side in the world! Goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle send the Azzurri top of Group E, while Belgium drop to the bottom. Up next for Italy is a date with Sweden on Friday, while Belgium will take on Ireland on Saturday.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: BELGIUM 0-2 ITALY.
A. Candreva
Assist
Italy
90' + 2' Candreva picks up an assist and it's no less than he deserves for all the great work he's put in tonight.
G. Pellè
Goal
Italy
90' + 2' CLINICAL. DECISIVE. DESERVED! Three points wrapped up for Italy as they break with precision. Candreva lifts a delightful ball across for Pelle, who smashes a volley into the back of the net with Courtois stranded!
J. Vertonghen
Yellow Card
Belgium
90' + 1' Conte, an passionate figure in his own right, tries to calm a coming together in front of the Italy bench and he's shoved aside by Vertonghen, who goes into the book.
90' + 1' There will be a minimum of three minutes added on at the end of this match, 60 seconds of which have already elapsed as Italy win a free-kick near the halfway line. They're understandably in no rush to take it.
90' THAT WAS THE CHANCE! THAT WAS IT! What a moment for Belgium it could have been! De Bruyne's ball in finds an unmarked Origi. When he can't connect with a header, it falls kindly for Fellaini, but the midfielder seems to be taken by surprise as he can't sort his footing before Buffon collects!
88' Italy continue to absorb this pressure admirably. Belgium are struggling not just to create, but to keep the ball in attack, as the Azzurri forwards are putting in some equally impressive work to get forward and provide the defence with a bit of respite. Now or never for Belgium...
86' STRONG HAND FROM COURTOIS! Swift, inquisitive stuff from the Italians on the break, which is to be expected at this stage. Immobile carries the ball a long way forward and drives a venomous effort at goal which Courtois parries! Conte will be seeing a lot of that as he's poised to join the keeper at Chelse next season.
T. Motta
Yellow Card
Italy
84' Thiago Motta is the latest name to find its way into Clattenburg's book.
83' IT'S JUST NOT THEIR DAY! De Bruyne lifts an inviting delivery in from the left which Origi rises above his marker to meet, but the substitute opts for power rather than placement as he lifts a header over the bar! That absolutely has to be on target!
82' No shortage of red shirts in the Italian end as Belgium prepare for their final push. Mertens is enjoying plenty of possession near the penalty area, and his decent effort deflects behind for a corner as pressure on the Italy goal begins to mount.
80' STAT: Italy are unbeaten in their three games with Belgium at major tournaments (W2, D1). Two of those games were played at the European Championships (0-0 in 1980, 2-0 to Italy in 2000).
T. Motta
D. De Rossi
Italy
78' Bonucci becomes the third Italian player booked for a late challenge on Origi, as the foul count rises at a rapid rate with the game reaching its conclusion.
L. Bonucci
Yellow Card
Italy
78' Yellow card Leonardo Bonucci
77' Italy dropping deeper and deeper in defence, but still Belgium are failing to create much of anything. They're lacking any real cohesion in the final third, looking more like a group of individuals than a solid unit. Is there to be a sting in the tale?
Y. Carrasco
L. Ciman
Belgium
75' Belgium also make their final change, prepared to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Italy, as forward Yannick Carrasco replaces defender Laurent Ciman.
C. Immobile
E. Martins
Italy
75' That's the last involvement of the night for Eder, who is replaced by Ciro Immobile.
E. Martins
Yellow Card
Italy
75' Smart foul by Eder, who wraps his arms around Mertens and rugby tackles Mertens to the ground. The Napoli winger was spearheading a Belgium break, and they had a lot of bodies forward - so the foul may have saved Italy there.
D. Origi
R. Lukaku
Belgium
73' It is Origi who's brought on by Wilmots, with Belgium in need of a saving grace. It hasn't been Lukaku's night, and he's the one to give way.
71' Italy manage to win the ball back and they're enjoying a decent period of possession which, if nothing else, is providing a necessary breather for their back-line. Belgium have to throw caution to the wind sooner than later, and it looks like Divock Origi is set to enter the fray.
69' The Azzurri are struggling to pass their way out from the back, something that wasn't an issue for them in the first hour of the match. With Belgium imposing more bodies forward, it's becoming increasingly difficult for Italy, who consistently find themselves outnumbered in the middle of the park when they try and break.
67' Italy are down to 10 men as Pelle gets some repairs on the touchline for what looks like a hand injury. Belgium continue to assert themselves, and they're getting into some better areas now as the Italian resistance starts to wane, albeit slightly.
G. Chiellini
Yellow Card
Italy
65' No hesitation from Mark Clattenburg as he reaches straight into his pocket to book Chiellini. The defender sensed the danger of a possible Belgium break, and committed himself into a professional foul on Hazard as a result to avert the threat.
64' It's Belgium now who enjoy a prominent spell in possession, imposing themselves in the Italy half. They have plenty of bodies forward, but the bulk of their possession is coming along the periphery of the final third as they struggle to negotiate passage through the mess of white shirts in defence.
D. Mertens
R. Nainggolan
Belgium
62' Marc Wilmots responds with a change of his own, calling upon Dries Mertens to replace Nainggolan - an attacking change for Belgium who will likely switch into a 4-2-3-1 upon the Napoli winger's arrival.
61' Italy park themselves in the attacking half as they slow the tempo a bit. It was wide open for the last five minutes or so and that certainly works in the favour of this Belgium side, so the Azzurri do their best to combat the quick pace - and they do so effectively.
M. De Sciglio
M. Darmian
Italy
58' Antonio Conte goes to his bench for the first time this evening, sensing Darmian is just starting to fade a bit and he brings on Mattia de Sciglio to replace the Manchester United wing-back.
57' STRAIGHT AT BUFFON! Hazard has been incredibly quiet thus far, but he's starting to show signs of life. A short-corner routine sees the Chelsea winger picked out atop the area, but his left-footed drive is sent directly into the waiting arms of the Juventus keeper!
56' BRILLIANT GOALKEEPING! Courtois called into action for the first time in this second half and he stretches out to his right to deny a Pelle header from point-blank range! You just start to get the sense that there's another goal or two to be had in this match.
54' THERE WAS HIS CHANCE! Italy carved open for the first time tonight as Belgium put together the most clinical of counters. De Bruyne picks out Lukaku in acres of space in the final third, and the striker lifts a cheeky effort past Buffon, but it drifts agonisingly wide of the top corner!
52' STAT: Belgium have lost all five of their matches at the European Championship when trailing at the interval, while Italy have never lost when leading at the half.
50' Belgium have to show a bit of resilience. They only trail by the one goal, so everything can change on the flip of a coin, but they can't get frustrated with their inability to create. Lukaku has to keep working high up the pitch, as he has a tendency to fade when things aren't going his way.
48' Italy enjoy a positive start to this second half, asking the majority of the questions early on while ensuring Belgium see little of the ball. Parolo is sprung into space down the right, but he fails to pick out a team-mate on two times of asking.
46' Belgium get the second half underway!
Belgium certainly aren't lacking in attacking options off the bench, with Divock Origi, Yannick Carrasco, Christian Benteke, Michy Batshuayi and Dries Mertens all ready to have their name called in this second half. Italy don't have any reason to make changes at the interval, but could turn to Thiago Motta as the match progresses for added stability in defence.
Emanuele Giaccherini has the Azzuri ahead at the break in Lyon, as a momentary lapse in concentration in the Belgium defence is all that's separated the two sides at the break. Italy have put in a typically committed performance in defence after 45 minutes, leaving the Rode Duivels frustrated and in need of an adjustment or two at the interval.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: BELGIUM 0-1 ITALY.
45' HE CAN'T FIND HIM! End to end stuff at the end of this first half! Eder has Giaccherini in space at the far post, following a great ball in from Candreva, but the striker can't pick him out! Back the other way come Belgium, but Hazard's ball lacks the required height to get to Lukaku.
43' Belgium have resorted to route one football as their inability to build through the centre has seen them resort to playing diagonal balls over the top. Fellaini has pushed forward to support Lukaku, and that's something Italy will have to be wary of given the Manchester United midfielder's unquestionable strength in the air.
41' You can see the look of exasperation on the face of De Bruyne, as tension is running very high in this Belgian side considering how this first half has played out. The Manchester City attacker threatens for the first time tonight as he latches onto a ball over the top inside the area, but he can't shake off Chiellini as the defender prevents him from getting a shot off!
39' WITSEL TRIES HIS LUCK! Well Belgium have come close on a few occasions, but everything has been from outside the box. They've been unable to penetrate this incredibly stingy Italian and Juventus back-line. Witsel takes a pass atop the area and drives a well-struck effort just beyond the far post. It's going to take something special to beat Buffon from there, though.
38' Belgium get a much-needed break in play as De Rossi lands awkwardly after an aerial duel with Fellaini. Those are two big boys coming together there, but it looks like the Roma midfielder will be fine to continue.
36' PELLE'S MISSED A SITTER! Belgium on the ropes! They've completely lost their composure since conceding! Courtois is forced into a strong save to deny Candreva from range, and some indecision in defence on the subsequent corner allows Pelle a free header atop the six-yard box, but he nods his effort wide with the keeper rooted to his spot!
34' STAT: Giaccherini's goal is just the fifth first-half goal scored at Euro 2016, with 12 coming in the second half of matches.
L. Bonucci
Assist
Italy
32' The Italian job is off and kicking now, while Bonucci picks up the assist on that Giaccherini opener.
E. Giaccherini
Goal
Italy
32' BELGIUM SWITCH OFF AND ITALY LEAD! Bonucci takes the free-kick quickly, playing the simplest of balls over the top, but Belgium are caught napping! The delivery drifts over the head of Alderweireld, and Ciman isn't around the back with cover, allowing Giaccherini to bring it down with a delightful first touch before placing a composed finish beyond Courtois!
31' Lukaku is growing frustrated with his lack of involvement in this one. Even when he does get into a prominent area, the ball isn't delivered in accordingly, and he's not happy. He commits a foul for a late slide into the back of Chiellini and is a lucky lad not to be booked.
29' Ciman gives the ball away cheaply at the back, affording Italy a real opportunity to carve out a chance. Giaccherini is presented with possession in a good space to whip in a cross, but he squanders a pair of opportunities to lift the ball into the danger area. Another stray pass from Belgium keeps the pressure on, but Pelle curls an effort a few yards wide of the far post - though Courtois appeared to have it covered anyhow.
27' Eder has hardly had his name mentioned tonight, with the exception of a few fouls. The same can be said for Pelle, as Italy's striker duo have been largely isolated up top. It's only gotten worse over the last 10 minutes or so as Belgium really start to assert themselves, enjoying the bulk of possession.
25' Ciman has a rare foray on the overlap and tries to drive a ball through a crowd of bodies in the centre, but sees his effort deflect behind for a corner. While it's one of the more minor storylines, it will be interesting to see how the Montreal Impact defender does, considering Antonio Conte left Sebastian Giovinco and Andrea Pirlo off the Italian team because he doesn't rate the MLS highly by any means.
23' SECOND TIME OF ASKING! Well, maybe third time will be the charm for Nainggolan, who latches onto a loose ball atop the area after a stray defensive header, but powers a half-volley just wide of the far post! He certainly knows how to strike a ball, and Italy will have to do better to prevent him from negotiating those little pockets of space atop the area.
21' The tempo has slowed a bit with Belgium opting to take a more patient approach in possession, but the Italian's have dealt capably with everything thrown at them thus far. Lukaku has been given no space to operate, with a defender always first to the ball when Belgium try and force it to him up top.
19' STAT: Italy have drawn more games than any other side in Euro history (15). They have also recorded the most goalless draws (8).
17' Darmian has a cross blocked by Ciman at one end, and the ball is quickly thurst forward as Belgium look to break. De Bruyne finds himself in all sorts of space on the right, but instead of trying to take on Bonucci, he looks to play an early ball for Lukaku, which is read well and snuffed out accordingly by Chiellini.
15' Italy appear confident in possession, but as soon as Belgium win the ball back, the Azzurri are so quick to get their shape back. They're very compact off the ball, yet have a wonderful width about them in defence, which has helped keep both De Bruyne and Hazard on the fringes up to this point.
13' Both teams are acquitting themselves very well in the opening stages of this match. It's been a wonderfully poised contest thus far, with neither side holding any significant advantage. Possession is being kept well by each, but the real creative catalysts for Belgium have yet to get themselves involved.
11' BUFFON CALLED INTO ACTION! Quick, decisive build-up play from Belgium in the final third sees Fellaini, with his newly dyed blonde hair, heading the ball into the path of Nainggolan atop the area. The midfielder shoots first-time, but his effort is parried by the accomplished Buffon, who did well to get down quickly to his left.
9' STAT: Italy enter the tournament 12th in FIFA’s world rankings, the exact position they resided in at the start of Euro 2012 when they went on to lose to Spain in the final. Belgium are second, their highest ranking ever at the start of a major tournament.
7' English referee Mark Clattenburg comes to the forefront for the first time as Eder charges down on Vermaelen to try and block a clearance, but winds up blowing through the defender with his studs showing. It's a dangerous challenge from the Italian striker, who escapes with only a warning, much to the dismay of the Belgian players in the vicinity.
5' Italy enjoy their first prominent spell in possession, attacking down that same flank through Darmian. Alderweireld and Vermaelen are called upon to make a pair of important interceptions, as Wilmots' side see away with the early threat. Enjoyable start to this match in Lyon.
3' Belgium pose the early questions, keen to play through De Bruyne on the right-hand side. Nothing really of note for this experienced Italian defence to deal with yet, however. And before this really gets going, it has to be said, both sides have designed some lovely kits for this tournament - early candidates for best-dressed nations at the Euro.
1' AND WE'RE OFF! Italy in their white tops get us underway, attacking right to left, with Belgium in their red shirts and black shorts!
Both sets of passionate fan-bases are well-represented here in Lyon, making for an envious atmosphere inside the stadium. These two sets of fans are hungry for international success and their 2016 journey is about to begin!
The midfield trio has been weakened in the absence of Verratti and Marchisio, who leave a massive void in both tenacity and creativity in the middle of the park. Daniele de Rossi anchors the trio, where he will be joined by Lazio's Marco Parolo and Bologna's Emanuele Giaccherini, while PSG's Thiago Motta is left on the bench - likely due to his similar playing style to that of De Rossi. Leading the line is the duo of Southampton's Graziano Pelle and Inter's Eder, who have combined to score just seven goals on the international stage.
Always rigid at the back, 2016 figures to provide more of the same stability at the back for the Italians as Juventus trio Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci form a rarely penetrable wall in front of their Bianconeri team-mate and legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. They will be protected on the flanks by wing-backs Antonio Candreva and Matteo Darmian, who goes up against his Manchester United team-mate Fellaini.
In midfield, former Standard Liege team-mates Alex Witsel and Marouane Fellaini are joined by Roma’s Radja Nainggolan, who will be up against his club mate Daniele de Rossi. Romelu Lukaku leads the line with his 12 international goals, flanked by two of the Premier League’s best playmakers in Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
Injuries have left Marc Wilmots’ side weakened at the back, with Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman coming into the XI at right-back with Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Lombaerts injured. The blow is softened by the familiarity between the remainder of the back-line, as Thomas Vermaelen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen all played together at Ajax, while the latter of the two remain partners in the Tottenham defence.
SUBS: De Sciglio, Ogbonna, Zaza, Florenzi, Motta, Immobile, Sirigu, Marchetti, Sturaro, Insigne, Bernardeschi, El Shaarawy.
ITALY (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Chiellini, Bonucci; Candreva, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, Darmian; Pelle, Eder.
SUBS: Carrasco, Mignolet, Gillet, Mertens, Denayer, Meunier, Origi, Kabasele, Dembele, Benteke, J. Lukaku, Batshuayi.
BELGIUM (4-3-3): Courtois; Ciman, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Fellaini, Witsel, Nainggolan; De Bruyne, Hazard, R. Lukaku.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
There’s been a lot of talk in the build-up to the tournament about Italy having one of their weakest squads to date. Losing Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio to injury hurts, but if there’s one thing we have learned about the Azzurri over the years it’s their ability to persevere – to come together and play at their best when expectations are at an all-time low.
If the FIFA world rankings were a proper indication of best and worst, Belgium would have to be considered favourites to lift the trophy at the conclusion of the tournament. Marc Wilmots’ side are ranked second in the world, only behind Argentina, and while oddsmakers have not dubbed them as the team to beat at Euro 2016, they are a popular darkhorse pick among many to reach their first major final since Euro 1980 – hosted by the Italians.
Belgium mark their return to the European Championships today – their first appearance in the competition since 2000 when they co-hosted along with the Netherlands – with a match against defending finalists Italy, in a match which could go a long way in determining the winner of Group E when all is said and done.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of this delectable Group E encounter between Belgium and Italy from Parc Olympique Lyonnais, the Grand Stade, in Lyon!
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