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Belgium v Italy facts

Belgium were 1-0 friendly winners away to Italy in October 2018 and will be looking for a Group A repeat.

Italy's Patrick Cutrone during the defeat by Poland
Italy's Patrick Cutrone during the defeat by Poland ©Getty Images

Hosts Italy will look to round off their Group A campaign in style as they take on Belgium in Reggio Emilia.

• Italy have picked up three points from their two fixtures, opening with a 3-1 defeat of Spain only to lose 1-0 to Poland on 19 June, and are level with Spain on three points, three behind Poland.

• Italy need to win and hope Poland lose in order to stand a chance of winning the group. In that instance, with Italy, Spain and Poland all on six points, placings would be decided by the results of matches involving those three sides. An Italy victory and a win for Spain by a one or two-goal margin would mean the Azzurrini finish top.

• Belgium, having lost to both Poland (2-3) and Spain (1-2), can no longer finish first in the section or qualify for the semi-finals as the best runners-up overall.

Highlights: Italy 0-1 Poland

Previous meetings
• Substitute Francis Amuzu scored the only goal nine minutes from time as Belgium won 1-0 away to Italy in a friendly on 11 October 2018.

• The line-ups at the Stadio Friuli in Udine – venue for the 2019 U21 final – were:
Italy: Scuffet; Calabria, Mancini, Romagna (Bastoni 62), Adjapong (Luca Pellegrini 62); Murgia (Zaniolo 62), Mandragora, Locatelli (Valzania 73); Parigini (Edera 84), Kean (Orsolini 62), Vido (Favilli 62).
Belgium: De Wolf; Cools (Vanlerberghe 63), Vanheusden (J Schrijvers 46), Faes (Wouters 46), De Norre (Bushiri 46); S Schrijvers, De Sart (Oméonga 46), Heynen (Mangala 46); Iseka (Amuzu 63), Lukebakio (Dimata 46), Ngoy.

• This is the countries' fifth competitive U21 meeting – and a second in three editions – but a first in the final tournament.

• Both sides recorded an away win when they met in the 2015 qualifying group stage. Thorgan Hazard and Yannick Carrasco were both among the goals as Belgium came from behind to win 3-1 in Rieti in September 2013; the following month, Italy's Cristian Battocchio – who had also scored in the first game – got the only goal in Genk.

Watch Belgium lose out to Spain

• Italy picked up four points from their two games against Belgium in the 1986 qualifying group stage. A Roberto Mancini penalty helped the visitors to a 1-1 draw in Brussels in March 1985; in December of the same year, Gianluca Vialli got the opening goal as Italy won 3-0 in San Benedetto del Tronto.

• Luca Pellegrini, Nicolò Zaniolo, Andrea Pinamonti and Patrick Cutrone were in the Italy side held 1-1 by Belgium in the European U19 Championship elite round in March 2017, with Claud Adjapong an unused substitute. Jens Teunckens, Wout Faes and Orel Mangala played for Belgium.

Form guide
• This is Belgium's third U21 finals, and a first since 2007. Then they reached the semi-finals across the border in the Netherlands, losing 2-0 to Serbia in the last four.

• The Young Devils' only other appearance in the final tournament came in Switzerland in 2002, when they finished third in their group behind France and eventual champions the Czech Republic having picked up three points from their three matches.

Highlights: Poland 3-2 Belgium

• Having lost both Group A games to date, Belgium's record in the final tournament is now W2 D2 L5 F8 A13.

• One of five countries unbeaten in qualification, Johan Walem's team won eight of their ten games en route to these finals, drawing the other two to finish six points clear of Sweden at the top of Group 6. They won their last seven qualifiers, keeping clean sheets in the last four while scoring 13 times themselves.

• Italy have qualified for ten of the 12 final tournaments since 1998. They have reached the semi-finals or better in six of those previous nine appearances, claiming the trophy in 2000 and 2004.

• Italy were also champions for three tournaments running between 1992 and 1996, and reached the 1986 final.

• Despite being Spain on matchday one, the Azzurrini have won only four of their last ten matches in the final tournament (D1 L5).

Italy impress in beating Spain

• Italy have played 17 friendlies since 1 September 2017 (W7 D4 L6). Prior to victory against Spain, they had not won since beating Tunisia 2-0 in October 2018, with those two wins their only ones in their last eight matches (D2 L4).

Links and trivia
• Belgium coach Walem played in Italy for Udinese (1997–99 and 2000/01), Parma (1999/2000), Torino (2003/04) and Catania (2004/05). He came on as a late substitute in Belgium's 3-1 friendly win against Italy on 13 November 1999.

• Walem was a youth coach at Udinese between 2010 and 2012.

• Bryan Heynen scored in Genk's 2-0 victory at Sassuolo in the UEFA Europa League group stage on 9 December 2016. Lorenzo Pellegrini was a substitute for the Italian club.

• Has played in Italy:
Stéphane Oméonga (Avellino 2016/17, Genoa 2017–)

• Four of Italy's U21 squad represented the senior national team in this month's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying wins against Greece in Athens (3-0) and Bosnia & Herzegovina in Turin (2-1). Nicolò Barella played 90 minutes in both games, opening the scoring against Greece, with Federico Chiesa starting and Pellegrini coming off the bench against Greece. Gianluca Mancini also started against Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chiesa appearing as a half-time substitute.