While each team had created dangerous situations in the opposing box during Friday’s quarterfinal fixture between Belgium and Italy, the first Italian goal stemmed from an error by Red Devils captain Jan Vertonghen.
“It hurts even more that my error caused that goal,” said the Benfica defender, who has a record 131 appearances for the national team. “It was at a time of the match when we had little ball possession, and when we had the ball we lost it quickly, so I wanted to keep it, but I did not make the best decision in the box,” he said.
Vertonghen lost the ball in the 31st minute while trying to dribble within the 18-yard line. Marco Verrati stole the ball from him, then slipped it quickly to Nicolò Barella, whose strike deceived a powerless Thibaut Courtois.
The 34-year-old, playing for the national team since 2007, will have to wait a bit longer if he hopes to win a trophy with the Red Devils.
“I am still going over some of the phases in my head,” the Devils’ temporary captain said. “It’s a new lost opportunity, as in previous tournaments. We’ll need to analyse what did not work, the mistakes we made, and work” on them, he said after his team’s 1-2 loss.