The key events:
Also caught On the official tournament website – thank you uefa.com – some thoughts ahead of the game from Belgian coach Ica Serneels:
“We can really start in this tournament. It will be a historic day for Belgian women’s football. And I’ll be honest, if we don’t qualify for the next round, I’ll be very disappointed.
Defender Laura De Neve added: “We can make history if we qualify. We grew in this tournament and I hope that will be confirmed.
Ahead of England’s quarter-final against SpainKaren Carney writes that Sarina Wiegman’s team will have to be on point without the ball if they want to qualify for the semi-finals:
On uefa.com, some pre-match thoughts from Italian coach Milena Bertolini: “It’s not the most important night of our career, we had some big nights at the World Cup, but it’s an important night. It’s a decisive match.
“We have improved over the last five years, it has been a great path, making us more respected on the international stage. Belgium has many qualities. First of all, they have several experienced players. They have quality on the ball and physically. Like any team, they have weaknesses.
Four changes have been made by Italy coach Milenia Bertolini following the 1-1 draw with Iceland. Di Guglielmo arrives at left-back, Giugliano is on the right wing, with Girelli ahead of Bonansea in attack.
For Belgium, 19-year-old winger Hannah Eurlings enters the starting lineup and they will play an attacking 4-3-3.
Italy (4-4-1-1): Giulani; Boattin, Linari, Di Guglielmo, Bartoli; Giugliano, Rosucci, Simonetti, Bergamaschi; Bonanesea; Girelli. Replacements: Schroffenegger, Gama, Galli, Sabatino, Bonfantini, Filangeri, Caruso, Giacinti, Piemonte, Cernoia, Lenzini, Durante.
Belgium (4-3-3): Everard; Vangheluwe, Kees, Philtjens, Biesmans; Cayman, Vanhaevermaet, De Caigny; Dhont, Eurlings, Wullaert. Replacements: Lemey, Van Kerkhoven, Wijnants, Delacauw, Vanmechelen, Minnaert, Tison, De Neve, Deloose, Missipo, Lichtfus.
Arbitrator: Ivana Martincic (Croatia)
The Netherlands and Sweden both recorded emphatic victories in Group C last night to advance to the last eight.
Here are, literally, the match reports for both:
As I mentioned below, Rob Smyth was earlier on The Fiver and was kind enough to produce a ready-made breakdown of Group D permutations, which is below. Who will be out of the frying pan and into the fire? Or something like that.
“France emerged as group winners and will face defending champions Netherlands in a quarter-final in New York. [Stadium] Saturday. The other three teams are vying for the right to probably, without offense, lose to Sweden at Leigh Sports Village on Friday. It’s a bit incidentally: for the three teams, but especially Belgium, qualifying for the quarter-finals is an end in itself.
“Iceland have two points, Belgium and Italy one. Iceland will qualify if they beat France, but that’s unlikely. If that doesn’t happen, either Belgium or Italy will get a win Where it really starts to swell is if – and it’s hardly beyond the realms – Iceland lose and the other two draw. Iceland (don’t ask us to explain, it’s hard enough as it is) and a 2-2 draw or more would send Belgium through.
“If it ends 1-1, Belgium and Iceland would be split by aggregate goal difference, then goals scored, then a sudden death spelling bee in which players on either side must spell the word “Scorching”. Confusing? Splendid. Now all we need are the three numbers on the back of the card.
The important thing to remember as Group D comes to an end tonight is that France, with six points out of a possible six, have already qualified for the quarter-finals. Other than that, it’s all to be won, with fourth-placed Italy capable of progressing if they beat Belgium and Iceland don’t. Blues tonight. Belgium know exactly the same thing: win tonight, and if Iceland lose or draw France (as seems likely), they go through.
Unless you’ve lived in a cave (which would be perfect in this weather), you’ll be aware of the incredibly hot temperatures the UK is currently experiencing. Rob Smyth’s research tells us that 33C are forecast ahead of kick-off at Manchester’s Academy stadium for Italy against Belgium, while New York’s stadium in Rotherham is expected to be an even hotter 35C where Iceland meets France. There will be many refreshing breaks.
Kick off is at 8 p.m. – why not start your exhaustive pre-match reading with our interactive guide to the 368 players of the Women’s Euro 2022?