SI Staff
Monday June 13th, 2016

Belgium entered Euro 2016 as the top-ranked team on the continent–according to FIFA, anyhow–but it begins its tournament quest trying to climb out of a group deficit. 

Italy's Emanuelle Giaccherini put Belgium in an early hole and Graziano Pelle finished off a 2-0 victory for the Azzurri in their Euro 2016 opener in Lyon Monday.

Giaccherini finished off a sublime pass from Leonardo Bonucci at the midfield line, displaying a great first touch, winding up and putting his right-footed shot low and inside the far post to beat Thibaut Courtois.

Much has been made of Italy's attack and dearth of finishers going up against the high-octane Belgium attack that features Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, but it was the Azzurri that started out in front with this excellent finish. 

The lead allowed Italy to do what it does best–defend. Lukaku had Belgium's best opportunity to equalize off a well-executed counterattack, but his touch let him down, he appeared to slip and then put his lob attempt just wide of the upper right-hand corner:

Lukaku's replacement, Divock Origi, also had a great chance, putting his header off De Bruyne's cross from the left over the bar:

Italy finished off the match in stoppage time. Graziano Pelle, who missed a couple of earlier chances, hit a clinical side volley off an unselfish set-up from Antonio Candreva to make it 2-0.

Italy and Belgium will each play Sweden and Ireland in their remaining group matches. 

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