U21 national coach Gilles Swerts remains true to his principles against Spain for the European Championship clash: “There will be opportunities”

The young Belgians started their qualifying campaign well with three consecutive victories, but encountered a tough Scotland on the fourth match day in Roeselare. In the qualifying rounds, only the nine group winners and three best runners-up qualify for the final tournament. Against Spain, leader with twelve points from four matches, Swerts’ troops cannot make any mistakes if they want to keep their chances intact.

“It was not easy the day after the match, both for the players and for the staff,” Swerts said at a press conference on Monday at the national training complex in Tubize. “We tried everything to win the match. The only problem was that we were not efficient, and we lost three points when we want to win every game.”

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“We played the football we want to play and created chances by keeping possession of the ball,” the T1 continued. “The statistics showed that and we emphasized those positive points to the team.”

“The Spaniards are the favorites, but there will be opportunities against them,” Swerts thinks. “The big difference with our last opponents is that this team wants to play football, while the other teams have set up a low block and are aiming for the transition. So there will be a lot of space, but we have to be careful not to be naive if we lose the ball.”

Losing against Scotland does not deter Arne Engels

Arne Engels wants to wash away the aftertaste of last Friday’s somewhat surprising home defeat against Scotland (0-2) and continue the path from the start of the qualifying campaign with the young Red Devils. The promises will play their fifth qualifying match for the U21 European Championship in 2025 against undefeated group leader Spain tomorrow/Tuesday (8 p.m.) at Den Dreef in Leuven.

Belgium suffered its first defeat against Scotland (0-2) on Friday after three victories against Kazakhstan (1-0), Malta (0-2) and Hungary (0-1). “We already played against some difficult opponents,” the 20-year-old midfielder from the German Augsburg began on Monday at a press moment in the national training complex in Tubize. “It is always difficult to disrupt a low block and create chances, but we did well.”

Sometimes things could be better offensively, Engels also admitted. “The finishing was lacking at times, but I think we have to keep this momentum going and with a little more luck we will be fine. I think we will get a lot of points in the coming games.”

Engels also has confidence in his teammates. “We have excellent players who can make a difference individually and we are also a close-knit team. At the back we can count on very good players who know how to communicate and play football, which is very important. We also open up and talk to each other, although I think we could be a little harder on each other sometimes. We have a very good team and we have to show that.”

“Everyone has to do their job. An individual role is not important to help the team,” Engels added. “But you have to try to give everything and play as best as you can. I hope to be able to do that if I get the chance in the coming games.”

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