Despite the defeat against Austria in the second meeting of the Euro indoor, the Belgians can continue to nurture certain ambitions in the tournament. But, for that, it will be necessary to confirm the performance achieved against Germany and above all to correct the imperfections of the duel against the world number 1.
After having shared the challenge, this Thursday noon, with the German defending champions (4-4), the Belgian players wanted to confirm their remarkable entry into the matter in this European Indoor Championship, against Austria, the other big favorite for the final victory in the tournament. But, deprived of Max Plennevaux (slight sprained ankle), they had a delicate encounter against an opponent who proved to be extremely realistic and who struck with regularity, whenever he had the opportunity. If at the break, the score was only 2-1 in favor of their opponents (goal by Arnaud Dykmans), it was in the second half that things got complicated since the Belgians tended to force their luck too much and they proved unable to strike from the penalty spot despite several possibilities and a single goal scored by Philippe Simar in this crucial phase. The 6-2 defeat is severe but it in no way calls into question the rest of the Red Lions tournament.
“This morning, I mentioned this mandatory defensive rigor”, immediately recognized coach Max Bergez. “We didn’t get him in this second game. We wanted to go a little too fast forward and it cost us dearly. We had quite a bit of difficulty finding the right connections to get out of defence. And we may have forced a little too early to pick up the score. We lacked lucidity and we were tired following the efforts deployed against Germany at noon. This certainly does not constitute an excuse but it is certainly an explanation. However, there are positive things to come out of this meeting. »
Learning from this first defeat
This balance of 1/6 after the first day is in any case an appreciable result against the 2 big contenders for the title. It is tomorrow, against the Netherlands (2:30 p.m.) then against the Czech Republic and Switzerland on Saturday, that Belgium will have to demonstrate its ability to achieve the objectives set in this Euro, namely a place on the podium. . “The results of the day are obviously positive because we knew that this first day would be complicated”, continued the Lions coach. “If we had narrowly lost the 2 matches, we would not have been more advanced. Here, we have a first point and above all good prospects for the rest of the tournament. We remain confident and we are aware of the mistakes not to repeat during the next 3 meetings. In our head, we want to snatch a victory against the Dutch because we are greedy. But it’s the last 2 duels that will be really decisive and that will allow us to play for 3rd place which is our objective. »
Belgium therefore hopes to recover its captain, Max Plennevaux, for this flat country derby. His experience and especially his weight on the opposing defense are no longer to be proven even if the whole group pulled out of the game during this first day of competition. The most difficult is therefore yet to come for the Indoor Red Lions who will have to demonstrate that they do indeed have the means to fulfill their ambitions in this European Championship.