Euro 2016: Belgium vs Italy… Live!
Time, then, for this evening’s match. A main event, if you will, and this is one that I consider just about impossible to call. Belgium have been simultaneously near the top of the FIFA rankings and not quite the sum of their parts for a while now, and big things are expected of them at this tournament. The brunt of the blame for what is considered to be a degree of underachievement has been borne by coach Marc Wilmots, who has stood accused of not being able to get the best from the lavish talents at his disposal. Tonight is his opportunity to set the record straight in that respect.
Italy, on the other hand, remain something of a curate’s egg, but for different reasons altogether to Belgium. On paper, this is a weak Italian squad, by their own lofty standards. The seam of world class talent that has so often been riven into their football in the past doesn’t quite seem to be there at the moment. And yet. And yet. In 1982, when they won the World Cup, they did so from a position of no-one giving them a jot of a chance. In 2006, when they did the same, they went into the tournament with similarly low expectations. And that’s the thing about Italy. They’re the world masters of pulling something out of the fire when they need to. I’ll be back shortly with some team news, and then we’ll get on with some calcio. Deal? Deal.
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