5 September 2014 09:44
Marc Wilmots hailed the versatility of Belgium’s attacking quartet following a 2-0 friendly victory over Australia on Thursday.
Belgium warmed up for their Euro 2016 qualifying opener against Andorra next month by comfortably seeing off Ange Postecoglou’s men in Liege, with goals in each half from Dries Mertens and Axel Witsel proving decisive.
Head coach Wilmots felt his side dealt well with the expectation of being favourites and reserved special praise for a front four of Mertens, Kevin Mirallas, Kevin De Bruyne and Divock Origi.
“I believe we can be satisfied with our performance, especially in the first half,” he told RTBF. “There is always a difference between the theory and the match but Mirallas, Mertens, De Bruyne and Origi were really great.
“They have evolved in all positions [and we] could play between the lines.”
Wilmots also praised Witsel and Steven Defour for allowing the attacking players to flourish, and was satisfied with the performances of his second-half substitutes.
“In order to do this [attack] it takes very high concentration from Steven Defour and Axel Witsel to regulate the midfield,” he added. “I saw a very attractive team in the first half and good replacements.
“We have kept control and the result has been preserved despite the changes. So it’s been a good night.”
Australia counterpart Postecoglou believes his team have many lessons to learn as they build towards next year’s Asian Cup on home soil.
“We competed in patches but again we made some silly mistakes and gave the opposition the chance to punish us,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
“On the flipside we had good moments but were just lacking some composure. But we’ve exposed our young players to the most difficult environments and I think they will be better for it.
“For the most part we were good but we were our own worst enemy. At times in transition we took some poor options and would give them the ball back and against good opposition you get found out.”
Australia put in a series of spirited performances at the World Cup earlier this year but have now suffered five straight defeats.
However, Postecoglou is satisfied his team are heading in the right direction.
“It’s part of the journey,” he added. “Sometimes you have to go to uncomfortable places and that’s where you learn the most and we would have learned a hell of a lot today.
“This last series of games, five or six, we’re never going to go through a stretch of games like that again for a very long time.
“Through it we’ve found some players and more importantly our players have learned from the experience.”