The Belgians shared the stake with the German world champions in their first duel of the competition. A convincing result but a performance that offers, above all, magnificent prospects for the rest of the tournament.
Lhe Lions did not miss their entry into this European Championship. They delivered a very high performance against the local team, surprised by the enthusiasm but above all by the game put in place by the proteges of Maxime Bergez, impressive in maturity and mastery during a large part of the meeting. They then had to give in to German pressure when their opponents withdrew their goalkeeper at the start of the last quarter, when the score was largely in favor of Belgium.
In the first half, the Red Lions played fair and well. Applied and well in place defensively but above all terribly effective during their offensive conversions, they led with 3 goals in advance at the break (1-4) thanks to Gaëtan Dykmans (5th) and Philippe Simar, author of a hat-trick (11th , 12th and 20th). But after a balanced 3rd quarter, the Mannshaft moved up a gear by choosing to play with 6 outfield players. A paying choice since she finally managed to snatch the division by scoring 3 goals in less than 7 minutes (4-4).
“We obviously knew that it would be very complicated during the last 10 minutes”, admitted Max Bergez, the Belgian coach, at the final whistle. “They released their keeper very early, which meant that they were aware that they would have some difficulty in picking up the score. There is obviously a little frustration but we would have signed for such a result at the start of our tournament. But on the other hand, I’m happy because it allows us to get back down to earth quickly before our next game in the afternoon against Austria. The main thing for me was to display this identity that we have talked about so much in recent weeks. And this, from our first meeting. We have never had, in Belgium, a very indoor identity until now, particularly defensively or in terms of rigor. But we managed to put a solid structure in place by keeping a little madness and a lot of weight in our game. Now we will have to maintain this level in our next duel. »
A much more homogeneous team than in the past
A feeling shared by Philippe Simar, author of a hat-trick and very inspired against the Germans. “I don’t know if our opponents took us high. But that could have been the case since we still had a solid 12-1 at the opening of the World Cup in Berlin 2 years ago. But on our side, we played differently with a much more homogeneous group. They certainly did not expect to face such a well-prepared team. We held on well at 6 against 5 for the last 10 minutes. There is therefore no regret to show after this meeting. We confirmed our ambitions and we may have played better than we thought we could in this Euro. It is extremely positive for the rest of this tournament. »
At 6:15 p.m., the Indoor Red Lions will play their second meeting of the day against the Austrians who did not leave the slightest chance to the Swiss when they entered the game (9-5). A meeting that the Belgians want to use to continue their rise in power and which could allow them to find themselves in a good position after the first day of competition before playing their next 3 duels against the Netherlands (Friday), the Czech Republic and Switzerland (Saturday). The ambition of a podium seems in any case very realistic provided that it continues in this way and further increases the cursor of the requirement in the different sectors of the game.