Soccer-Belgium coach Tedesco rues missed chances after loss to Slovakia

soccer-belgium coach tedesco rues missed chances after loss to slovakia

Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group E - Belgium v Slovakia - Frankfurt Arena, Frankfurt, Germany - June 17, 2024 Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco reacts REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

By Philipp Krach

FRANKFURT, Germany (Reuters) - Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco has backed his side to bounce back after they squandered chances in a shock 1-0 defeat by Slovakia in their European Championship opener on Monday.

Belgium were wasteful in front of goal and created enough opportunities to win comfortably but a mixture of poor finishing and some excellent Slovakia defending kept them at bay.

"The only thing that we didn't do well was taking chances," he said. "We had plenty. It's part of the game. Of course the players were disappointed.

"We had many chances, we pressed high," he added. "Normally you don't lose this game. It hurts," he said.

Tedesco added that he knew his 15-game unbeaten run since he took over the team last February would come to an end at some point. "Unfortunately this was today," he said.

Belgium had two Romelu Lukaku goals ruled out by VAR - one for offside and, more controversially, for a handball by Lois Openda in the build-up but Tedesco did not criticise the officials.

"I want to be a fair loser - we trust the referees," he said.

The coach also backed the performance of his players, including Lukaku, who missed several clear-cut chances.

"He is strong, mentally strong," Tedesco said, adding that talismanic midfielder Kevin De Bruyne "played really well tonight - he is very important for the team."

Belgium face Romania in their second Group E game in Cologne on Saturday and must put behind them the defeat by Slovakia.

"It hurts a lot tonight," Tedesco added.

(Reporting by Philipp Krach; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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