Belgium have 'extreme potential' at Euros, says Tedesco

Manager acknowledged they need to develop a killer instinct

AFP June 23, 2024


Domenico Tedesco claimed Belgium have "extreme potential" at Euro 2024 after kick-starting their campaign with a crucial 2-0 win against Romania on Saturday.

Tedesco's side would have been on the brink of elimination if they had lost in Cologne, but Youri Tielemans settled their nerves with a goal after just 73 seconds.

Kevin De Bruyne's late strike wrapped up Belgium's first win in Group E after they suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Slovakia in their opener.

Having crashed out of the 2022 World Cup at the group stage, and failed to get past the quarter-finals at the last two Euros, many pundits have written off Belgium's golden generation.

But Tedesco, whose team face Ukraine in their decisive group match on June 26, is confident they can make a big impact in Germany if they qualify for the knockout stage.

"We have an extreme amount of potential. Let's see, the last game will be difficult," he said.

"We are very relieved we won. It was very important to get the three points. For the rest of the tournament, we are released (from the pressure) and happy."

For Belgium to thrive in the latter stages, Tedesco acknowledged they need to develop a killer instinct.

They missed a host of chances against Romania after similar problems in the Slovakia loss, while Romelu Lukaku has now had three goals disallowed by VAR in the first two matches.

"The difference is we scored two goals and in the first we didn't score any. Of course we like the second game more," Tedesco said.

"Romania left more spaces than Slovakia did. Of course we missed one or two chances. It would be better if we could kill the game earlier.

"The mentality was good. It's a pity if you see the quality of chances we created. But it's not easy against Romania."

Romania boss Edward Iordanescu conceded his team had been out-classed, but he rued missed chances that could have rattled Belgium.

"You saw a team with lots of quality. They have speed, they have explosion and they have power. That is why I said don't get fooled by the first game," he said.

"It is not a mistake that they are third in the world. They are a candidate to win the trophy.

"The game did not start well for us but we fought very hard. With a bit of luck we could have got a point."

Romania, who beat Ukraine 3-0 in their opening game, are still in contention to reach the last 16 at the Euros for the first time in 24 years.

Iordanescu is confident they will rise to the occasion against Slovakia in their last game.

"Now is the moment of truth. Let's see how we deal with difficulties. We need solidarity and unity," he said.

"We are still top of the group. We have what it takes to write history for Romania."


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