On Tuesday, the Young Devils will face Denmark in a vital European Championship qualifying match. Jacky Mathijssen’s U21 only need one point to qualify for next year’s European Championship. Saturday, halfway through the internship in Genk, Matisse Samoise and Michel-Ange Balikwisha spoke to the press.
The Young Devils won the first leg against Denmark at home with 1-0. “We saw then that they have a very good team”; said Antwerp striker Michel-Ange Balikwisha. “It is a team that plays good football and is also very efficient. So we will have to put a lot of pressure on them not to give them breathing room.”
One point against Denmark is enough for the U21. Still, Balikwisha wants to do everything he can to just win the two remaining qualifying matches. “If we win our last two races, we can become the first Belgian U23 generation to get the maximum points in qualifying. That would be historic. I want to go for that 110 percent.”
According to Balikwisha, there is no stress within the Belgian U23 team. “We are relaxed. Come on, don’t be too relaxed either, huh. (laughs) We just have to go to Denmark with confidence and show what we can do.”
Samoise: “We must seize this opportunity”
Matisse Samoise can make his debut for the Young Devils on Tuesday, although the AA Gent midfielder remains calm. “The first time you’re there, you have to adapt a bit anyway,” said de Buffalo. “To everything, including the system. I have a feeling it’s getting better and better. The good thing is that I end up in a team that is running well. So the atmosphere is good and I get a lot of tips from everyone. That does help me.”
Samoise is still in the race for the Champions Play-offs with AA Gent and a cup final is also waiting. “Of course those matches are in my head, because they are very important to us. But when I’m on the pitch here, I only think about the national team. And Tuesday’s game.”
“If you have the opportunity to be present at such a big tournament, you just have to grab it,” says Samoise. “Maybe we’ll never get that opportunity again. You never know how things will turn out. The first team is very strong, so it is not easy to get into it. So I would try to enjoy the European Championship next year as much as possible. But first we have to find our place.”