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Witsel happier to face Hungary than Spain

Axel Witsel does not share Marc Wilmots’ opinion that Belgium are better facing one of the Euro 2016 heavyweights at the last-16 stage.

Wilmots hinted on Friday that playing a lesser nation – such as Hungary, Belgium’s opponents in Toulouse on Sunday – brings about greater expectation and therefore more pressure.

But Witsel was happy to have avoided the big-guns, not that that means he is underestimating the Hungarians.

He said: “I wanted to avoid a big nation like Spain but that doesn’t mean Sunday’s game will be easy.

“We have to respect Hungary, they really deserved their qualification and we can’t underestimate them.

“If you win you go through, if not you’re going home. We are all ready and have recovered well. It will be a difficult game but we’ll do everything to go through.”

Zenit midfielder Witsel, who refused to speculate on his club future despite being linked recently with Roma and Everton, highlighted the physicality of Bernd Storck’s men as just one area in which Belgium had to be strong.

He added: “They are very good physically and match-ups will be important. They are well organised, they work hard and they are very dangerous on set-pieces.

“Yes, on paper we are favourites but on the pitch it’s not that easy.

“We will have to control the ball, they are very good in attack. They have scored three goals against Portugal so we will have to be very careful defensively.”

Sat 25 Jun, 2016
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