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The big team news ahead of Friday’s Munich showdown is that Belgium are likely to be without two of their star players, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.
However, the betting markets appear to have overreacted to this and there looks some value in siding with Belgium or the draw in 90 minute markets.
Italy, who were kept out for 90+ minutes by Austria in the last 16, are 27/20 favourites to win this game in normal time and that looks poor value (famous last words). Conversely, the 12/5 about Belgium is on the big side, while the draw, which is a huge runner, is 21/10.
Let us not forget that Belgium are the number one-ranked team in international football and they have found ways to get positive results without one or both of these players on numerous occasions.
Admittedly, none of those results has come in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a European Championship quarter-final, but it’s not as if Belgium don’t have other top-class talent that can turn games single-handedly.
Get Belgium v Italy Betting Odds with Grosvenor Sport
Top of that last is, of course, Romelu Lukaku who is still a major runner in Golden Boot betting with three goals to his name. However, Thorgan Hazzard showed against Portugal that he is more than capable from distance and the likes of Dries Mertens, Youri Tielemans and Michy Batshuayi are all goal threats that can supplement Lukaku.
Belgium’s defence isn’t the most youthful but they looked a solid unit against Portugal and the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have the benefit of big-game experience for club and country to draw on.
Even without Hazard and De Bryne, Belgium are easily the strongest side that Italy have faced in the last 12 months and the Azzurri might just struggle to justify their favourites tag on this occasion.
Belgium – Draw No Bet – 13/10