European Football Championship: Belgium’s “victory of relief” before the heart-stopping final

European Football Championship: Belgium’s “victory of relief” before the heart-stopping final
European Football Championship: Belgium’s “victory of relief” before the heart-stopping final

The Belgians showed their potential in their European Championship victory against Romania. But the situation in Group E before the last matchday is explosive. For the Red Devils, losing is forbidden.

Domenico Tedesco gathered Belgium’s ball artists in the centre circle immediately after the redeeming 2-0 win against Romania. The coach prepared his team for the exciting final in Group E for a place in the round of 16 of the European Football Championship. The deserved victory after a strong performance in Cologne should mark the belated start of a successful European Championship journey for the Red Devils.

“Everyone dreams of winning the European Championship. We do too,” said offensive player Jérémy Doku after the convincing performance, with which the Belgians still have their place in the round of 16 in their own hands. The media portal “Sporza” called the 2-0 victory a “victory of relief.” “The way the team played – the aggressiveness, the chances they created – that was very good,” enthused the player of the match, Kevin De Bruyne, who made the preliminary decision with his goal to make it 2-0.

Tedesco’s team was under enormous pressure before the match, having surprisingly lost the opening match against Slovakia 0-1. But the Belgians withstood the pressure in the Cologne Arena. Tedesco stressed that he was relieved after the first victory at this European Championship. The main difference was that the team scored two goals against Romania, said the former Bundesliga coach.

Group constellation as a novelty – Shame of Frankfurt?

But one thing is clear: despite the three points, the Belgians are still under pressure on the last matchday of Group E on Wednesday (6 p.m.) against Ukraine in Stuttgart. All four teams have three points after two matchdays – a first for the European Championship that ensures maximum excitement.

A win is enough for the Belgians to advance to the round of 16. A draw should also be enough. If they lose, however, the group constellation could prove fatal for De Bruyne & Co. Because in the parallel match in Frankfurt, a draw would most likely be enough for Slovakia and Romania to advance to the round of 16. A repeat of the shame of Gijón at the 1982 World Cup between Austria and Germany is looming – and then the Belgians’ journey to the European Championship would be over sooner than expected.

Unlucky Lukaku – exploitation of opportunities remains a shortcoming

To prevent that from happening, the team needs to score goals against Ukraine as well. Top striker Romelu Lukaku continues to cut an unfortunate figure – he has scored three times at this European Championship, and three times the goal was disallowed after video review. “That’s extremely bitter,” said ZDF expert Christoph Kramer. “You almost don’t dare to be happy anymore.”

At least Lukaku contributed his first point of the tournament with his assist for Youri Tielemans’ early 1-0. “Romelu played very well and provided an assist. He scored three times, even though the goals didn’t count. But I don’t think he’s frustrated,” said De Bruyne about the 31-year-old attacker.

As with the defeat against Slovakia, the Red Devils must also accept the criticism of poor utilization of opportunities in their first victory of this European Championship. It would have been possible to score four or five goals, said Tedesco. “If you look at the quality and quantity of the chances, two goals is a bit few.” A goal by the Romanians could have turned the game around until the score was 2-0 in the final phase. “We should have scored more goals. We really have to work on that,” explained Tielemans in front of the TV microphones.

Source: Stern

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