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Euro 2016: Belgium take on Italy in high profile opener

Midfielder Marouane Fellaini urges his team’s star-studded attack to make the most of Italy's shaky defence in their opening Group E encounter today

Lyon: It will be Belgium's star-studded attack against Italy's dogged defence and Marouane Fellaini says his team have the weapons to make a winning start to Euro 2016 today.

Marouane Fellaini
Marouane Fellaini

Belgium have shot up the world rankings from 66th in 2009 to second coming into the European Championship finals and are amongst the favourites in France. Now Fellaini wants Premier League stars Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku to showcase their talent against the Azzurri.

"We have a lot top quality players up front, who can make the difference, we have three world-class forwards," said midfielder Fellaini. Belgium netted 24 goals in qualifying. "I hope they are ready to score goals and make a difference.

Belgium forward Eden Hazard (centre) trains with his teammates in Le Haillan, France yesterday ahead of their Euro 2016 clash vs Italy. Pic/AFP
Belgium forward Eden Hazard (centre) trains with his teammates in Le Haillan, France yesterday ahead of their Euro 2016 clash vs Italy. Pic/AFP

"It's always important to start with a win, especially for our confidence. It's going to be a real challenge against Italy, but it's up to us to play through their defence."

Both teams are amongst the favourites to win the European title, but first they must escape one of the toughest groups with Sweden and Ireland also in the pool. Belgium are chasing a first competitive win against Italy since May 1972 and have won just four of their 21 meetings. But they got the better of Italy with a 3-1 win in Brussels last November.

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