Last week, Marc Wilmots gave an interview to Le Soir. Asked about Belgium’s chances in the Euros, he was positive, saying that Belgium had not yet peaked and could still improve. Wiimots argued that if everyone were fit and on-form, they could win trophies.
Looking back to his own time in charge of the squad, Wilmots didn’t miss the chance to showcase his own role in the development of the Belgium team and its successful results. He argued that he took a group of youngsters to Brazil in 2014, after both Dick Advocaat and Georges Leekens had both previously turned down the opportunity.
Acknowledging that Vincent Kompany would be missed this time around. Wilmots said that both Jason Denayer and Dedryck Boyata had the experience to be effective in the 2020 Euros. Furthermore, despite Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen and toby Alderweireld all being over 30, he felt they had enough in the tank to make it to the 2022 World Cup.
Wilmots had a dig at the Flemish press as he remembered them criticising Axel Witsel for slowing down the team’s momentum back in Brazil, while now they were concerned that he might miss the coming tournament. Wilmots did agree, though, that Witsel was indispensable, adding that he felt Roberto Martinez would be able to manage the player’s fitness, as he did with Kompany in Russia.
Turning to Eden Hazard, Wilmots felt that Belgium’s captain could have a good Euros, but if for some reason that didn’t happen, the ex-national coach felt that Dries Mertens, Thorgan Hazard, Leandro Trossard and Jeremy Doku were all quality players who could play a part.
Overall, Wilmots saw Belgium as second favourites behind France, and just ahead of England – who would have the advantage of playing the majority of their games at home.