After a victory each at home in 2018, Italy and Belgium meet to close Group D in Manchester.
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Italy – Belgium, head to head
- Italy and Belgium end their UEFA Women’s EURO Group D campaign at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, in an opposition the Red Flames have dominated in recent years.
- The two teams are level on points (one) after each coming one goal behind against Iceland. Italy did it on Matchday 2 after conceding a heavy opener defeat to France, Belgium did it in their opener before losing a goal to France.
- The two teams meet for the first time since the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 qualifying campaign, when they won their home match 2-1, with Italy finishing top of the group and earning a spot in the finals in France; Belgium finished second before losing in the play-off semi-final away to Switzerland after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
- The last meeting between the two teams dates back to September 2018 in Leuven. Davinia Vanmechelen (6)e35e minutes) scored for the home team, before and after Cristiana Girelli’s equalizing penalty in the 30e minute.
- Italy secured a 2-1 victory earlier in this World Cup qualifying campaign, in Ferrara in April 2018. Janice Cayman gave the visitors Belgium the lead in the 37e minute from the penalty spot, but Martina Rosucci equalized five minutes later. Girelli (80e) scored the winning goal late in the game for the Azzurre.
- Belgium’s two wins in this opposition have come in the last three encounters, with the other success being a 4-1 win in the group stage of a friendly tournament in Cyprus in March 2017. Daniela Sabatino opened the ninth-minute score for Italy, before Tessa Wullaert equalized from the penalty spot a minute later. Strikes from Elien Van Wynendaele (39e), by Maud Coutereels (64e) and substitute Davina Philtjens (81e) gave the victory to the Red Flames.
- Italy were unbeaten in the first six meetings between the two sides before that March 2017 defeat, winning five of them.
- Italy’s overall record in the nine matches they have played for Belgium is 6 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses, with the only draw coming in a friendly in February 1997 at Oud-Heverlee .
- Italy have scored in each of the nine matches played so far; Belgium have remained silent in front of goal in just one of the last six matches between the two nations, a 2-0 friendly defeat at Monza in May 2001.
- This is the 12e Italy’s participation in the EURO, a joint record with Norway.
- Italy’s best performances in the competition came when they were runners-up in 1993 and 1997, despite failing to qualify for the tournament in 1995.
- In 1993? At home, the Italians lost 2-0 in the final to Germany, Sandra Minnert and Birgit Prinz scoring in Oslo.
- Italy have been eliminated in the group stage at three of the last five tournaments, reaching the quarter-finals in 2009 and 2013.
- The Belgians have won just one game in the finals, on Matchday 2 in 2017, as Ives Serneels’ side won 2-0 against Norway in Breda.
- Italy secured their place at EURO 2022 by finishing among the best runners-up, with 25 points out of a possible 30 in Group B. The Azzurre’s only loss – 3-1 to Group B leaders Denmark in Empoli in October 2020 – was also their first home defeat in over five years.
- Belgium secured their place at only their second EURO by winning Group H with seven wins from eight matches. The exception was a 2-1 loss to eventual runners-up Switzerland in Thun in September 2020.
- Against Iceland, Italy managed to avoid defeat after conceding the opener for the first time at the EURO since a 2-1 win over England in 2009.
- Iceland’s third-minute goal was the seventh conceded by Italy in the first ten minutes of a EURO game.
- Italy’s 5-1 opening loss to France marks only the second time in EURO history that Italy have conceded five goals (the previous one, to Norway in 2005, a 5- 3).
- The defeat by four goals against the Blue equals the defeat by the largest gap conceded by the Italians after the 0-4 against Germany in 2005.
- Italy have kept a clean sheet just three times in 34 EURO appearances.
- Janice Cayman’s 36th-minute goal against France on matchday two is Belgium’s first goal in a EURO finals before the hour mark.
- On this occasion, Cayman became the first Belgian player to score a goal for the Red Flames in several editions of a EURO.
- Belgium’s draw against Iceland is their first in 17 EURO matches, including qualifying (11 wins, 5 losses).
- Four of the five Belgian goals were scored between the 59th and 67th minute.
Player to watch, Italy
- The 32-year-old has scored in each of the last two meetings against Belgium, including an 80th-minute goal in the April 2018 win at Ferrara.
- The striker was Italy’s top scorer in their EURO 2022 qualifying campaign, scoring nine goals in her ten appearances – including a hat-trick away against Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2020.
- Girelli scored the winning goal in the 85th minute in Italy’s only victory at EURO 2017, 3-2 ahead of Sweden in Doetinchem on matchday three.
- The Juventus striker scored the only winning goal against Switzerland in 2023 World Cup qualifying on April 12 – the Azzurre’s last international match before EURO 2022.
- The 30-year-old equalized in the 2-1 win over Belgium in April 2018 in World Cup qualifying, her first goal for the Azzurre in over four and a half years.
- The midfielder has featured in nine of Italy’s ten qualifying matches ahead of EURO 2022, scoring in home wins against Georgia and Israel.
- Rosucci was part of the Italy squad that won the 2008 UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship in France, alongside current defenders Sara Gama and Elisa Bartoli.
- His goal for Juventus against Roma on October 2 was named Serie A Goal of the Season 2021/22.
- The 37-year-old opened the scoring in the 4-1 friendly against Belgium in March 2017.
- Sabatino scored twice – the second in a spectacular volley – in the 3-2 matchday three win over Sweden at EURO 2017.
- The striker scored the Azzurre’s first goal under coach Milena Bertolini, just nine minutes into a 5-0 home World Cup qualifying win over Moldova in September 2017.
- The Fiorentina striker finished the 2021/22 campaign as Serie A top scorer with 15 goals.
Players to watch, Belgium
- The 33-year-old converted her penalty to put the Red Flames ahead in the 2-1 loss to the Azzurre in April 2018.
- The striker scored five times in EURO 2022 qualifying, including a hat-trick in the 6-1 win over Croatia in Leuven in September 2019.
- The opening strike in Cayman’s hat-trick against Croatia was the Red Flames’ first goal in the EURO 2022 qualifying campaign.
- The Lyon striker became Belgium’s most capped player in June 2021 by celebrating her 112th cap, surpassing Aline Zeler’s previous record.
- The 33-year-old scored Belgium’s fourth goal in the 4-1 loss to Italy in March 2017, in what was her 50th appearance for the national A side.
- The defender has spent the last four club seasons in Italy, first with Fiorentina and, since July 2020, with her fellow Serie A side Sassuolo.
- Philtjens became the fourth player to reach 100 caps for Belgium in the 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Poland on November 30.
- The left-back is one of three Red Flames players to start all 16 EURO 2022 and World Cup 2023 qualifying matches, along with Cayman and Wullaert.
- The 29-year-old scored the equalizer in the 4-1 win over the Azzurre in March 2017. The striker is the top scorer in 2023 World Cup qualifying with 15 goals in eight appearances, including five in the Red Flames’ record 19-0 win over Armenia on 25 November.
- The Red Flames captain celebrated his 100th cap with a goal in the 7-0 win over Albania on September 21.
- Wullaert, Belgium’s all-time leading scorer, scored two hat-tricks and nine goals in EURO 2022 qualifying.