Tedesco reminds critics of Belgium’s ‘extreme potential’

Romania's Denis Alibec, right, fails a chance to score during a Group E match between Belgium and Romania at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, June 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

COLOGNE: 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.’’ — AFP

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