Tedesco wants Belgium to believe against France

DUESSELDORF, Germany – Belgium must go into their Euro 2024 round of 16 game with France full of belief if they are to stand a chance of progressing in the tournament, manager Domenico Tedesco said on Sunday.

Tedesco’s players will have had some of that belief knocked out of them by the hostile reaction of their fans to their 0-0 draw with Ukraine, which allowed Belgium to advance but not as group winners, and not with the performance expected.

They take on a France side who have also underperformed and finished second in their group.

“From the very beginning, we want to be brave, we want to start this game with a strong belief,” Tedesco told reporters ahead of Monday’s match.

“We worked on this belief the last two or three days, because if there is no belief, there is nothing. So we have to believe and everybody knows that we need a really, really top, top game.”

Tedesco can understand the frustration of the fans and accepts their right to protest, but believes those supporters will be right behind them when they take on France.

“The fans are allowed to do anything, you know, if they have emotions if they have some thoughts … they can express what they feel,” Tedesco said.

“It’s no problem, it’s a fan that is paying a lot of money for a ticket. So it’s okay, but it’s also okay I think for a team then to be disappointed because we were qualified.

“It’s no problem for us. What’s important is that we are one unit. So tomorrow is important and what happened for us it’s not a topic anymore.”

Belgium finished as Group E runners-up behind Romania, and scored only two goals in their three group games, while France also netted just twice, with an own goal and a penalty.

Tedesco, however, prefers to look beyond the numbers.

“I think that both teams created a lot of chances in counter-attacks, but also out of possession,” he said.

“That’s the problem with the statistics, because if you just look at the numbers, of course you can say they are weak and they are weak, but it’s not true.

“In both cases, I think if you see the games of Belgium and the games of France, both teams created a lot, even in possession, I think many chances, a high number of expected goals.”

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