Wilmots: ‘Italy tactically inventive’

Marc Wilmots admits Italy could “invent something unexpected” on a tactical level, but Belgium are ready for them.

These two nations open their Group E campaign on Monday in Lyon at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“A victory to begin with would give us a lot of confidence, whereas a defeat could have consequences,” said the Coach in a Press conference.

“This is the most prestigious opponent we’re facing in a tournament that could allow us to grow. We must be ready straight away.”

Wilmots was asked if this was the worst Italy line-up in decades.

“They are even more dangerous in these situations, as they have players of a very high level and a Coach who wants a team of warriors.

“You’ve seen the games in the tournament so far, including Romania against France. We know what awaits us. Antonio Conte trained behind closed doors to avoid spies? Everyone makes their choices, but I am accustomed to people seeing us train. It’s not a problem.

“We need to be very compact. We’ll only really know Italy’s tactics an hour before the game, perhaps they’ll invent something unexpected. We worked very hard on technique and causing problems for the opposition defence.”

Wilmots and Conte were playing when Italy knocked Belgium out of Euro 2000 on their way to the Final.

“We conceded a goal on a set play and had been well in the game with an attacking Belgium side. Just five minutes from the end, the second goal arrived.

“It was the first time a host nation had gone out in the first round, a catastrophic situation considering we had won…