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Open up against Belgium and you will be punished, says Wilmots

Football Soccer - Sweden v Belgium - EURO 2016 - Group E - Stade de Nice, Nice, France - 22/6/16 - Belgium coach Marc Wilmots before the match. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Football Soccer - Sweden v Belgium - EURO 2016 - Group E - Stade de Nice, Nice, France - 22/6/16 - Belgium coach Marc Wilmots before the match. REUTERS/Yves Herman

By Brian Homewood

NICE, France (Reuters) - Belgium coach Marc Wilmots, in typically self-confident mood, warned that any opponents who opened up against his team would be punished after their 1-0 win against Sweden on Wednesday.

Wilmots was heavily criticised after Belgium, boasting several of the most gifted players in the tournament, began with a 2-0 defeat by Italy, but his side have bounced back to beat Ireland and Sweden.

The win, thanks to Radja Nainggolan's majestic late strike, earned Belgium a place in the last-16, where they will face Hungary.

"They were obliged to open up and if you do that against us you will be punished," said Wilmots. "Six points from nine is very good and since the defeat by Italy we have got better, we've kept two clean sheets in a row.

"People thought we were dead after the first game but we are back on track and we have come through a very difficult group," added Wilmots whose side finished second in Group E, behind Italy.

Belgium's players were more cautious.

"Hungary will be tough. We saw the last minutes of their game against Portugal," said forward Eden Hazard. "They give 200 percent and have very good players. We need another good performance to qualify for the quarter-finals."

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois agreed that Hungary, initially seen as outsiders to reach the knockouts, would be hard work.

"The last 16 is really open. But they're all difficult countries to beat. We cannot think that it (Hungary) will be an easy match," he said.

(Additional reporting by Phillip Blenkinsop; Editing by Toby Davis)

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