Kevin De Bruyne said Belgium need to be consistently braver in possession after their 4-2 Nations League victory over Denmark.
Roberto Martinez’s Belgium claimed all three points in Leuven on Wednesday to secure their place in next year’s final four.
Youri Tielemans put Belgium ahead but Jonas Wind levelled and Martin Braithwaite should have scored another in a first half in which Denmark were the better side.
Belgium assumed control after the interval, Romelu Lukaku scoring twice and De Bruyne adding a late fourth shortly after Thibaut Courtois miscontrolled a Nacer Chadli pass into his own net.
Belgium had a lower pass completion rate (85 per cent) and won fewer duels (10, compared with 18) in the first half than they did in the second, as Denmark threatened to snatch the surprise victory they needed to finish top of the group.
De Bruyne felt they showed more “guts” on the ball following half-time to break through the Danish lines and put Kasper Schmeichel’s goal under threat.
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2020) November 18, 2020
“These countries are in pot one for a reason,” said the Manchester City star, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “Denmark are just very good at playing football. We played a bit too little football before the break.
“We need to offer more options and try to play from the back, as we did in the second half. It wasn’t a matter of adjusting at half-time, it was a matter of having the guts to play the ball. There’s a risk involved, but that’s not a bad thing.
“We got more time in the game and we started to combine better, which made it easier. It’s a shame about the clumsy goals we conceded, as has often been the case in our campaign, but we still won deservedly.”
Tielemans, who also scored the opening goal in the 2-0 win over England on matchday five, agreed there was a certain anxiety within the team in the first 45 minutes.
“The first half wasn’t good,” said the Leicester City midfielder, who attempted more passes in the Denmark half (34) than any other Belgium player. “We played too panicky. We wanted to qualify so badly that fear crept into our feet.
“But the boss made us focus again at half-time and then it was fine.”
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