The match was certainly without a stake, since even before entering the Wilrijkseplein in Antwerp on Sunday afternoon, the Red Lions had already won the second edition of the Pro League. Nevertheless, a confrontation between Belgium and the Netherlands is never trivial, except that the Red Lions have visibly approached it with much less determination and envy than their rivals. And with less than a week before the Euro which will take place in Amsterdam from Friday, Max Caldas’ men have shown that they are already well into their tournament; much more than the Belgians, as observed by Florent van Aubel.
Florent, what is your analysis of this meeting which ended in a severe defeat (0-4) for Belgium against the Netherlands?
It is undoubtedly surprising to say that, but it must be noted that this meeting was our first match of preparation before the Euro… which starts in less than a week! And the conclusion is that we are not there yet: there is still a lot of work ahead! But the hardest part is that we don’t have a lot of time to correct things …
Usually, this kind of observation takes place longer before a big competition?
Exactly. We have a first match that we take the time to analyze on video, then a second, which we also analyze, etc. Here, we will still play against our U21s on Monday and Wednesday, and on Thursday we are heading to Amsterdam!
It is almost a disaster scenario that you are describing to us there!
No, you should not exaggerate of course. We haven’t forgotten everything. We have a fairly mature group which is able to say to itself that it was not good enough. Before, in such a situation, we could sometimes go home saying “so and so should have done this or that”. Here, I know that everyone will go home and ask the right questions, without hiding. We know that we all have things to correct and we will do it. We will also have good video analyzes with the staff, and that can only bring us to face our responsibilities.
What happened this afternoon is it not the demonstration that it is difficult to chain with a month apart only two big goals like a Euro and the Olympics?
Maybe, but I don’t want to hide behind it. When we play a match against the Netherlands, we have to be there. And we weren’t there! Technical errors, mentality, commitment: none of these aspects of the game were encountered at the level we should be when we are about to play a Euro and then the Olympics.
In short, a good lesson in humility that perhaps comes at the right time despite everything?
I am very rational and realistic, and I share this idea. I think it’s not bad to have taken a slap like this: the Dutch put us back on the ground in a way. And confronted us with this reality: today everyone wants to beat us. And they probably even more than some others. They got up on the pitch angry, remembering that we had beaten them in the semi-finals in Rio, then in the World Cup final, and again in this Pro League. They were angry. We were like that before Rio too. We wanted to beat everyone and some teams maybe still underestimated us at the time. Today, that is no longer the case, and we felt it pass. It’s up to us to react