After a comeback defeat in the 2021 UEFA Nations League semi-final against France, Belgium are preparing to face the final for third place in the Nations League against Italy. A challenge in which Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard will not be present, both struggling with muscle problems.
Belgian coach Roberto Martinez spoke at a press conference on the injuries of two of his most important players. He said: "Hazard and Lukaku are in a similar physical condition, they have had muscle overload and we haven't had the facilities here to do the usual medical work and so they will go back to Belgium to get back to their best in the clubs.
We don't feel they are at their best. 100% to take the field, I don't know what the evolution of these injuries will be. Whether they will be available for the first match of the respective clubs depends on the evolution of the injuries.
We came here to win the Nations League, tomorrow the new cycle will begin to better prepare for the World Cup. Against Italy it will certainly be an important challenge, we have been first in the ranking for three years and we want to preserve this first place, it has always been our goal.
Against Italy, against the champions of Europe, we want to test ourselves and learn. The team is made up of individual players and these individuals must be called up in a year, there can be no better motivation. " Roberto Mancini, Italy coach, replied: "It's an important match because we need to consolidate our position in the FIFA ranking.
Belgium are first so they won't have any problems for the draw, but we need to win and continue on that beautiful path. We have a group of young guys who can play together for years and in the match against Spain I was proud of what they did, because playing against them outnumbered is the worst thing, yet we managed to be compact and also score goals.
There was the risk of losing four or five to zero: instead the boys were very good. Ballon d'Or? For me, the prize must be won by Jorginho: he has won everything and he deserves it amply. the opposite would seem strange.
" Here's how the teams will play for a 3-4th place final: Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Bastoni, Emerson; Pellegrini, Cristante, Locatelli; Berardi, Raspadori, Church Belgium (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen; Saelemaekers, Witsel, Vanaken, Chestnuts; Trossard, Carrasco; Batshuayi