We made individual mistakes: Belgium coach Wilmots

Lyon, June 14 (IANS) Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has said his side made individual mistakes which helped Italy score and get into a good position before winning 2-0 in a Euro football championship group encounter here.

Emanuele Giaccherini put the four-time World Cup winners in the lead with a superb two-touch finish in the 32nd minute on Monday and then Graziano Pelle scored in second half extra time to settle the contest in favour of the Azzurris.

It was a lack of communication in the defence which led to Belgium conceding the first goal. Leonardo Bonucci sent out a long ball from the centre circle and Giaccherini exploited some poor marking to latch on to the ball and beat Belgium goalkeeper Thibault Cortuis with an excellent finish.

“We clearly made individual mistakes and the first goal put Italy in a good position,” Wilmots was quoted as saying by uefa.com.

“Bonucci played a 40-metre ball forward and we just had an error of communication, which really is not allowed at this level,” he added.

“In the second half I wanted to be more attacking, which is why I took (Radja) Nainggolan off. I brought Dries Mertens on as I wanted to see more action on the left.

“(Romelu) Lukaku didn’t have a great night and (Kevin) De Bruyne can do better too, but now is not the time to talk about that. We need to club together to qualify for the last 16.”

De Bruyne had come into the tournament at the back of a good season with Manchester City but even Wilmots failed to put in words his poor performance in the game.

“I don’t know how to answer (about De Bruyne’s performance). If I had an answer, I would give it. Maybe he was tired after a long season,” the coach said.

“He was prepared for this game and I think Kevin has given so much for the national team over the last four years and is always capable of scoring from a free-kick or delivering a killer ball.”

However, Wilmots, who has been Belgium’s tactician from 2012, is hopeful of a quick turnaround in fortunes.

“If you make mistakes at this level, you pay dearly. But nothing is lost. We’ve got two games to reach the knockout stage, which is the aim when you are in the group, and that is what we are going to try to do,” added the 47-year-old.

–IANS

dd/pur/

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