Wilmots tells Belgian players not to be naive
BORDEAUX, France, (Reuters) - Belgium must not be naive in their approach to their opening European Championship match against Italy, coach Marc Wilmots warned on Saturday.
“Italy are a dangerous customer, we must not be naive. Everyone has to be ready, even those on the bench. Everyone must be fit and show his quality once the game starts. And nobody should think about himself, it’s the team that counts," he told a news conference two days before the clash in Lyon.
Wilmots said the game between the two group favourites would not be decisive.
“There will still be six points available. I remember at Euro 2000, Belgium won the first match against Sweden, but was then eliminated after two defeats (against Italy and Turkey).
“But I’m not calculating the permutations. I’m looking at the situation game by game and even if I need only settle for a draw later on, I will always want to win. I know my players will do everything to achieve that too "
Wilmots would not reveal his line-up despite media prompting but did suggest a possible surprise.
“I also know that (Italy coach) Conte can surprise me, but he also does not know how I'm going to play,” Wilmots added.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond)