Belgium ‘just under-performed’ and will be ready for Ireland

Manager Marc Wilmots: ‘Tactically, technically and organisationally we came up short’

Belgium’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois can’t stop Italy fro scoring at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon. Photograph: Getty Images

Belgium’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois can’t stop Italy fro scoring at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Divock Origi has said that Belgium “have a lot of respect for Ireland and we’ll have to look at how we play the game tactically,” but that was about as upbeat as it got in the hours after Belgium’s opening-game defeat by Italy last night.

As Belgian players trudged away from the dressing room in Lyon there was barely suppressed frustration that the team had once again failed to live up to its reputation, which can definitely be described as inflated.

“I think we just under-performed,” Origi, the Liverpool striker who missed an 89th minute sitter, said.

“In football that can happen but in a tournament you can’t have too many bad days because then you can’t go through. Now we have to be ready for the next game. We know it will be tough.”

That game is against Ireland in Bordeaux on Saturday and Origi added: “We have to be ready. After the loss against Italy we’re obviously disappointed. We know that Ireland are a good team and we’ll have to be at 100 per cent to beat them, that’s for sure.”

Getting Belgium to 100 per cent is the task of coach Marc Wilmots, but the doubts about his ability to do so that existed before Italy are growing.

As Wilmots was declaring: “I do not think we lost the tactical battle” - and seeming to blame Toby Alderwirald for Italy’s opening goal - Thibaut Courtois was in a nearby corridor saying: “We were outclassed on all fronts.

“Tactically, technically and organisationally we came up short. We made the same mistakes as in the friendly games. For the first we did not follow our man.

“This is a big disappointment, because the first match is very important. We could have done a great thing after the draw in the other match. The next two games we should be winning. We have to play better.”

With Wilmots also saying that he thinks Kevin de Bruyne looks “tired” there is clearly some tension within the Belgium camp, if not discord.

One consolation - and something for Ireland to consider - is that even playing below their potential and against a tight Italy defence, Belgium still created a few chances in the second half, notably for Origi and Romelu Lukaku.

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