Loïs Openda is well on his way to single-handedly shooting the Young Devils to the European Championship 2023 in Georgia and Romania. The Vitesse striker once again showed his good form and also scored against Denmark – the only goal of the game. He has already scored five goals after four matches in this European Championship qualification.
Against the burly Danes, on paper the most difficult opponent in group I, the Devils were not under the market. Selector Jacky Matthijssen had turned his team over for the occasion and made no less than six changes compared to Friday’s game against Kazakhstan. Arthur Theate, among others, joined the team. He spent the past few days with the Red Devils, but did not get to play in the Nations League.
“Of course I would have preferred to make my first minutes, but in a tournament that is difficult. It’s not the time to please players. I did appreciate that Roberto Martinez selected me. Now I hope to really integrate step by step”, said a tired Theate.
He didn’t return to the U23 until Sunday evening, so he did collect playing minutes again. “It was not easy to turn the switch after the disappointment with the Red Devils, but I also want to give everything in the U21s. There was a lot of criticism after the Final Four, but we must not forget that this generation of Red Devils has done a lot for Belgian football. It is thanks to their performance that guys like me were able to make a transfer abroad.”
Congratulations from Roberto Martinez
Martinez sat in the stands and saw the left-footed defender of Bologna crown a great game with an assist. In the meantime, would he regret not testing Theate in the Nations League? He went to congratulate the group in the locker room after the game.
The Danes had opportunities, but they were unable to score. As is so often the case in football, the goal came from the other side. After a one-two with Theate, Openda worked the leather into goal from a sharp angle. Again Openda, who keeps on scoring.
In the second half, the Young Devils controlled the match and did not give away any great opportunities, but the Danes were emphatically looking for the equalizer. “That’s why this match was a tipping point,” says Mathijssen. “The previous generations would still have taken that 1-1, but this group fought through the difficult moments.”
Goal: 38’ Openda 1-0
Belgium: Vandevoordt, Theate, Kana, De Winter, Siquet (75′ Lissens), Ndenbe, Matazo (89′ Vranckx), Onana, Verschaeren (75′ Raskin) , Openda (89′ Balikwisha), Vertessen (61′ Zaroury)
Denmark: Jörgensen, Kristiansen, Carstensen, Hausner, Nartey, Jensen (75 ‘Warming), Isaksen (89’ Kaufmann), Lindstrom (89 ‘Tengstedt), Vick (63’ Frendrup), Sery, Kjaergaard (75 ‘Gronbaek)