Jorginho 'hungry' for Italy to bounce back against Belgium

Turin (Italy) (AFP) –


Jorginho said that Italy wanted to get back to winning ways in their Nations League third-place playoff against Belgium after having their record unbeaten run ended earlier this week.

Italy had racked up 37 games without defeat before losing 2-1 to Spain in Wednesday's semi-final, and the Chelsea midfielder said the Azzurri were keen to beat the Red Devils in Turin.

"We've just lost so we're hungry for winning again. I see it as a opportunity for us as a group and as a team to improve and to get winning again," he told reporters.

On Friday, Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois called Sunday afternoon's match "pointless", saying he would "take it as a friendly match".

Asked if Courtois' comments offended him, Jorginho said: "I'm not offended, the most important thing is how we approach the match, how he or Belgium approach the match doesn't really interest me, to be honest."

Meanwhile, Italy coach Roberto Mancini said that it would be "strange" if Jorginho wasn't awarded the prestigious Ballon d'Or this season.

"He won the Champions League, the Euros ... He fully deserves it; anything else would seem strange to me," said Mancini.

Jorginho is one of five Italians on the 30-man list for the Ballon d'Or along with Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Nicolo Barella and Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Fabio Cannavaro was the last Italian man to win the prize back in 2006.

Italy will face a Belgium team without Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard after both suffered muscle fatigue in the wake of their team's 3-2 defeat to France on Thursday.

"They both got overloads in their muscles in different areas, and we didn't have the facilities in our camp to be able to work the way we like to work with our medical people, so we had to send them back to Belgium," coach Roberto Martinez told reporters.

Hazard left the field with a quarter of an hour remaining in their 3-2 semi-final loss, while Lukaku played the full match.

The Chelsea forward even thought he had scored a late winner against France, only to see it ruled out for offside and then watch Theo Hernandez net late to send Les Bleus to Sunday's final against Spain at the San Siro in Milan.