“Italy has found its balance,” Conte said, “in the offensive and defensive phases, as well as a collective game and team spirit. Thirty-one unbeaten games are not achieved by chance. It’s a real team and I like it. I don’t think Belgium will be favourites, it will be a balanced match.”
The coach who led Italy to the Euro 2016 quarter-final also stressed the quality of his former Inter colleague Romelu Lukaku, who will be Belgium’s main goal threat on Saturday night.
“Romelu Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the world now, he already had great physical and athletic qualities but in the last two years we have made him grow even more in terms of his presence on the pitch.”