Lyon (AFP) – Italy manager Antonio Conte opted to start with Eder and Graziano Pelle to spearhead the Azzurri’s attack for their opening Euro 2016 clash against Belgium on Monday.
Southampton’s Pelle was Italy’s top-scorer in qualifying with three goals, while Ciro Immobile and Simone Zaza, who started Italy’s last friendly against Finland, were left on the bench.
Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian starts on the left for the Azzurri ahead of Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy, which indicates a cautious approach from Italy.
With Belgium captain Vincent Kompany ruled out of Euro 2016 with a groin injury, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard captains the Red Devils with Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld slotting in at centre-back.
Hazard leads a powerful attack for Belgium alongside Premier League stars Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City, Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku.
All 23 players in the Belgium squad are making their debuts at a European championship finals having last qualified as co-hosts with the Netherlands in 2000.
Thibaut Courtois; Laurent Ciman, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen; Axel Witsel, Radja Nainggolan; Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard (c); Romelu Lukaku
Coach: Marc Wilmots (BEL)
Gianluigi Buffon (c); Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Antonio Candreva, Marco Parolo, Daniele De Rossi, Emanuele Giaccherini, Matteo Darmian; Eder, Graziano Pelle
Coach: Antonio Conte (ITA)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (ENG)
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