Belgium Coach Marc Wilmots has blamed costly errors from his ‘inexperience’ defender as chief reason for the shock 3-1 loss to Wales on Friday night in Lille
Belgium bowed out of Euro 2016 in the quarter-finals despite taking an early lead through Radja Nainggolan but a more determined Welsh team punished them with three goals to seal a historic win.
But despite the result, Wilmots said the tactical approach was sound as he suggested injuries – particularly in defence with Jan Vertonghen ruled out – and a lack of experience proved costly.
“We had a good strategy, we dominated, had an excellent 25 minutes but from nowhere we dropped 15 metres back. I was waving my arms, shouting,” he said.
“I’m not a magician. You can’t simply replace experience and my defence had an average of 23 years old. I can’t blame the players but they need to be a well-oiled machine. We had to replace 50 per cent of our backline, I can understand us conceding goals from set-pieces.
“Perhaps it was fear, because they are young. I don’t know. But I’m in charge of the team and that’s the best I thought we had.”
Wilmots acknowledged that Belgium were one of the sides rated as having a big chance of making the final and perhaps even winning it but they have now failed to meet expectations.