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Belgium take on Italy for spot in semis

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Italy to enforce 5-day quarantine for England fans

MUNICH, July 1, (AP): Belgium’s leading scorer at the European Championship is no stranger to Italy’s veteran defenders. They all play in Serie A. Romelu Lukaku will likely be the main attacking threat when Belgium take on Italy in Munich on Friday in the Euro 2020 quarterfinals. The Inter Milan forward has scored three goals in his team’s four victories so far. And with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard both doubtful for the game, Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini and teammate Leonardo Bonucci – both defenders at Juventus – will know just who to focus on. Belgium, which are trying to win their first major soccer tournament three years after a third-place finish at the World Cup, haven’t lost in 13 games and is the top-ranked team in the world.

The Italians haven’t been beaten in a national team record 31 matches, though they were taken to extra time by Austria in the round of 16. Both teams won all three of their group matches, and with France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany all eliminated from Euro 2020, the winners in Munich will certainly be among the favorites for the title. Neither De Bruyne nor Eden Hazard’s injury worries are new. De Bruyne fractured his nose and eye socket in a collision with Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger while playing for Manchester City in the Champions League final, but the latest problem is a bruised left ankle sustained after a tackle from Portugal midfielder João Palhinha in the round of 16.

Meanwhile, Italy warned England soccer fans on Thursday they shouldn’t count on being allowed into the Stadio Olimpico for the European Championship quarterfinal match against Ukraine on Saturday unless they can prove they have observed five days of quarantine after arriving. The warning, posted on the website of the Italian embassy to Britain, made clear that even if they have tickets, proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 tests, fans should “not travel to Italy to attend the match.”

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