Belgium have been one of the most surprising packages in the last few years when it comes to national teams.
They were little known among the European giants, but they have been named as the second-best team in the world in the latest FIFA rankings. Such has been their rise in world football that many of starting them to see is the realistic contenders for the Euro 2016 alongside Germany. This is the view of Italy manager Antonio Conte, who is himself under great pressure to get results with Italy in Euro 2016. Belgium will be in a group containing the likes of Sweden and Republic of Ireland.
However, the biggest opponent in the group will undoubtedly be Italy. After having failed to even get past the group stages of the World Cup 2014, there is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the Italian players. The team reached the final of the previous European Championship. Hence, they will be at least expected to match or go beyond this stage for the 2016 edition. Sweden will also have a lot to prove since this is expected to be the last major tournament for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker is regarded as the linchpin of everything good done by the Swedish.
“I think that Belgium are an excellent side. They have young and talented players and I rate them as one of the favorite teams to win the trophy.More or less, we are at the same level of Sweden and Republic of Ireland. We are all aware of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s skills, while Ireland have passion and an impressive team-spirit. We would need to take extra care and pay attention if we want to make it through the last 16,” said Conte after the Euro 2016 draw was made.