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Belgium will face their biggest test of the competition so far when they travel to the Allianz Arena to play Italy.

Italy weren’t pleasant on the eye in playing Austria, but by winning tie, they moved their unbeaten record to 31.

Friday’s 20pm UCT kick off is a battle between the two best teams in term of form in the competition.

Belgium’s progress came at a price with their two most influential players – Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard. Both are facing a race against time to be fit to play after bruising encounter in the last 16. However Dries Mertens and Yannick Carrasco are ready to step into the game.

Another key aspect will be yellow cards in this tie with both Thomas Vermaelen and Toby Alderweireld one caution away from suspension.

“Italy will be the toughest opponent we’ve met so far,” says Thorgan Hazard.

“They’ve had a good run of wins and it will be a nice challenge for us to end that sequence. Their style may suit us more than Portugal. They are enterprising so we may be able to profit from the open spaces, but it definitely won’t be any easier.”

Italy have been boosted by Giorgio Chiellini’s fitness and with Belgium’s key defenders a card away from suspension, the likes of Chiesa, Immobile and Spinazzola could cause the defense some serious issues.

It’s a clash of the titans with star names across every position. Italy start as favourites but even their ardent fans will be wary of being over confident.

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