Roberto Martinez can sleep soundly. The national coach ‘weakened’ the U21 team by calling up base pawns Bornauw, Saelemaekers and Vanheusden for the first team, but there was nothing to be noticed against Wales. The promises of Jacky Mathijssen only needed one half and easily won 5-0. “Now we play to be seed,” said Mathijssen afterwards.
In contrast to the practice match of the Red Devils against Ivory Coast, no audience was allowed in the U21s in the King Power stadium in Leuven. However, the young Devils took no notice of this and were already on a reassuring 3-0 lead before the break. Match played and a second half on savings mode with Tuesday’s game against Moldova in mind.
However, national coach Mathijssen had to puzzle beforehand. He brought five new names between the lines compared to last month against Germany. Faes, Touba, Bataille, Sambi Lokonga and goalkeeper Bodart, who had a quiet debut, got their chance.
Bataille in particular was noticed on the right flank. His last international match with the U21 was back in November 2019, but he did a great job against Wales with an assist and a goal as a crown. Sambi Lokonga tapped a tight cross from him into the 3-0 halftime score. Before that, Lokonga had already scored on a free kick by Ndayishimiye, who had already kicked in the 1-0 from the penalty spot.
After the coffee break, the Devils controlled the game and Bataille and Openda scored another goal. Major competitor Germany also won and remains on one point of group leader Belgium. Now only Moldova is waiting on Tuesday and Bosnia in November. “I don’t expect any major surprises. It would be a very serious disappointment if this still went wrong ”, Mathijssen added.
Line-up Red Devils U21: Bodart, Peeters, Faes, Touba, Bataille, Mangala (69 ‘Kana), Sambi Lokonga (77’ Colassin), Amuzu (45 ‘De Smet), De Ketelaere (69’ Boussaid), Ndayishimiye (45 ‘Antonucci), Openda
Formazzjoni tat-tim Wales U21: Przybek, Boyes, Poole, Cooper, Coxe, Bowen (75’ Williams), Stirk, Cullen (82’ Pearson), Spence (55’ Astley), Waite (55’ Collins), Harris (75’ Touray)
Yellow cards: 30’ Harris, 42’ Bowen
Goals: 16 ‘I like it (pen.), 19’ 33 ‘Sambi Lokonga, 77’ Bataille, 81 ‘Openda (pen.)
Matthijssen: “Hunger is great”
National coach Jacky Matthijssen was a satisfied man after the big victory: “We did well, were in control and converted our dominance into opportunities and goals. We have a few killers in the group, also in stationary stages. After that, we gave boys less chance to play. Now we are going to try to show the same in Moldova. Then we want to finish it in Bosnia. The hunger in this group is very high. Now we play to be seed at the European Championship. ”
Wout Faes: “In principle, this shouldn’t go wrong anymore”
Due to the absence of Sebastiaan Bornauw and Zinho Vanheusden, there was a starting place for Wout Faes in the back, Friday evening in the 5-0 home victory of the U21s in the European Championship qualifications against Wales. The Anderlecht youth product took over the captain’s armband from the former and declined with a flawless performance. “The difference was very big,” the defender of Stade Reims summed up in front of the cameras afterwards.
“But that was also our credit, because we kill the game quickly. Although of course everyone has also seen that the opponent did not appear very strong. I am satisfied with my own performance, this will only make it more difficult for the coach. In principle, this should not go wrong anymore. I think we should just finish it on Tuesday. ”
Faes thus refers to the move to Moldova, on the penultimate match day. With a victory in Tiraspol, the Belgians are already at least second in the group and almost certain of European Championship participation. Albert Sambi Lokonga, author of two goals, is well aware of this. “We have everything in our own hands: the whole and the individual quality. Today it was not very difficult. It comes down to staying focused, because in such matches there is always some danger somewhere. ”
“We were warned about Wales,” adds Charles De Ketelaere. “They always start sharply. They did that last year and were able to score quickly. So we knew what to do. Fortunately we score quickly and the game was already over at half time, which makes it all a bit easier. ”
Sambi Lokonga scored two striking goals. The first with the head, not exactly his strongest quality, the second hit was a shot that disappeared through a hole in the net behind the goal. “Heads are indeed not my specialty and I will continue to work on it. If I can score a goal with the head, I will certainly not pass up that chance. On my second hit I was confused, because that ball had gone through the nets. Only when I saw that my teammates were cheering, I was sure that the goal was. ”