Streetwise Italy picks up savvy 2-0 win over Belgium to open EURO 2016

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

A 32nd minute goal from Emanuele Giaccherini helped Italy to a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over Belgium in Lyon on Monday.

Graziano Pelle scored in stoppage time to give the EURO 2016 openers for both sides its final score line.

The win boosts Italy atop Group D, with Sweden and Ireland drawing 1-1 earlier Monday. Belgium gets Ireland on Saturday, while Italy battles Sweden.

[ MORE: Latest EURO 2016 news ]  

Early on Belgium did all the pressing but Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku couldn’t find a way to break through.

Midway through the first half Giaccherini went down in the box as Laurent Ciman slid in and the Montreal Impact defender will have been relieved to see referee Mark Clattenburg look point for a goal kick rather than a penalty.

Graziano Pelle went close for Italy as he curled a shot from 20-yards across goal which deflected wide of the post and then Italy took the lead.

With no pressure on the ball Leonardo Bonucci picked his head up and clipped a delightful ball forward as Giaccherini took one touch to steady himself and slotted home. 1-0.

[ MORE: Ireland draws Sweden 1-1 ]

As half time approached Italy pushed hard for a second as a Antonio Candreva’s piledriver was pushed away by Thibaut Courtois and then Graziano Pelle headed inches wide when he should have scored.

Before the break a brief glimmer of hope arrived for Belgium as De Bruyne got free in the box but his effort was blocked.

In the second half, De Bruyne played Lukaku in on goal. The big Everton man chipped Buffon, but the ball sailed wide of the far post.

Courtois made a tremendous flying save on Ciro Immobile in the 85th minute.

But Pelle side volleyed Antonio Candreva’s cross home in the third minute of stoppage time to give us the final score.