Italy vs Belgium might as well have been a basketball game.
Belgium 1-2 Italy
International tournaments always pit some of the strongest footballing nations up against each other, but it's often those all-star games that prove to be the most disappointing.
However, you certainly couldn't accuse the Euro 2020 quarter-final between Italy and Belgium of resembling a chess match with both sides throwing the kitchen sink at each other.
Belgium vs Italy Match Reaction | Euro 2020 (Football Terrace)
And it was the 'dark horses' of the tournament that struck the first blow at the Allianz Arena with Nicolo Barella finding the net after Leonardo Bonucci's strike was ruled out by VAR.
Insigne's stunner makes the difference
The Inter Milan wizard showed beautiful footwork in the penalty area, before firing an emphatic strike past Thibaut Courtois' reach and even bringing Ciro Immobile back to life along the way.
But the best was still to come for the Azzurri who bagged what proved to be the game-deciding goal from Lorenzo Insigne, who produced an astonishing hit to double Italy's lead before half-time.
The diminutive Italian put so much whip on the ball that you'd think it crossed the Austrian border on the way to curling back in and rippling the Bavarian net. You can check out the stunning strike here:
However, Italy had a shock in store if they thought that they could simply canter past the 'Golden Generation' because Belgium were awarded a controversial penalty before the interval.
And true to his stunning performances at the tournament, Romelu Lukaku showed nerves of steel to send Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way and keep everyone on the edge of their seats.
Italy's heroic defending
What followed the three-goal first-half was another stunning 45 minutes of football with Italy showing just as much passion in their defending as they did during their rendition of the national anthem.
They even denied Lukaku in dramatic fashion when Leonardo Spinazzola, who was sadly forced off with an injury later in the half, somehow blocked the Belgian's effort from just a few yards out.
Italy secure the victory
And it was that level of heroism and determination that helped to guide Italy to their biggest win of the tournament so far, solidifying their status as one of the top contenders to conquer Europe.
A few minutes of time-wasting and gamesmanship in the closing exchanges were enough for the final whistle to confirm a 2-1 win for the Italians and set up an all-star semi-final against Spain.
The two European giants will slug it out under the Wembley arch to face one of England, Ukraine, Denmark and the Czech Republic in the game we've all been waiting for. Bring it on.News Now - Sport News