Belgium reached the quarterfinals of the European Women’s Championship for the first time as Tine De Caigny secured a 1–0 win over Italy in the second half in the final group match of Euro 2022.
A sluggish start in the sweltering heat of Manchester City’s Academy Stadium left few real chances for either opponent in the early slugfest of a win-win game.
Italy enjoyed brilliant moments throughout and controlled the momentum after the restart but failed to capitalize on their chances in the second half, while Tessa Wullaert nearly doubled her side’s lead in seven minutes of added time.
Belgium meet Group C winners Sweden in the quarter-finals on Friday.
With both teams eyeing action elsewhere, Belgium had the first early chance when Hannah Eurling’s shot swept inches over the woodwork six minutes into the game.
Elena Dhont was next, narrowly missing a pass from Captain Wullaert but unable to put enough power on the ball. Her shot was easily intercepted by Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani.
Belgium had nearly 60 percent possession in the first 30 minutes but were frustrated by an impressive Italian defense as both sides tried to find a breakthrough.
Italy looked livelier after a drinking break in the 28th minute as Lucia Di Guglielmo found a cross from Barbara Bonansea but failed to deflect her headshot into the Belgium net.
De Caigny finally broke the deadlock four minutes after the break when a series of muddled touches landed the ball in front of her feet, sending her a composed punch into the bottom right corner.
The Italians almost responded minutes later when Cristiana Girelli lunged at a loose ball on the edge of the box, only to see her attempt at throwing bounce off the underside of the bar.
Substitute Valentina Giacinti came closest to equalizing but watched as her later goals – and Italy’s tournament hopes – were thwarted by a Belgian defender.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/italy-belgium-manchester-sweden-b2126048.html Belgium reach the quarterfinals of Euro 2022 with a narrow win over Italy