Expert view: How Trossard could impact Euro 2024

Leo Belgium goal

Ahead of Euro 2024, we spoke to Belgian football journalist Kristof Terreur to get the lowdown on Belgium’s chances in the competition and how important Leandro Trossard could be to their hopes.

You can read through his thoughts in the preview below.

The mood in Belgium

“It’s a bit of a mixed feeling. I get the impression people are not really into Euros mode yet. We had the hype around the national team 10 years ago and qualified for the first time in 12 years for a big tournament and then there was real excitement. That high lasted until the World Cup in 2018. We didn’t disappoint there because third place is still good, but as we haven’t won a prize and after the Qatar misery, people are not too attached to the national team.

“We played two friendlies last week, for the first game there were 20,000 people and for the second game against Luxembourg I think it must have been around 32,000 to 35,000 in a stadium that holds 45,000 to 50,000. Before, the stadium used to be full, now it wasn’t, so that gives an indication of the atmosphere.

Leo Doku

“You still have the loyal fans but it’s not the general public as a whole that has clicked with this team but that’s maybe because it’s a newer team with players who people don’t know that well yet. 10 years ago, they had TV programmes and a reality show following all those players behind the scenes, so the hype was a bit created. That is not there now so I think expectations aren’t that high but it might change during the tournament if you’re doing well or upset somebody.

“It’s not like the country is coloured in black, yellow and red. We had elections on Sunday so the main focus has been on that media-wise. It might change next week if we beat Slovakia 4-0 or 5-0, but it’s a bit cautious as you’ve been disappointed before by the national team."

Trossard’s importance

“As he’s had a good season with Arsenal, he started in the last friendly game, so you expect him to start. He’s not like Kevin De Bruyne who is still seen as the most important force or Romelu Lukaku - the ones who’ve been there - but he will play in a bit of a different role for the Belgian team. I don’t know if it’s his best role but we have plenty of attacking talent and he’s first pick I think on the right side.

“I think him coming from the left, as proven with Arsenal, has always been better, even as a false nine. He has competition from Jeremy Doku from Manchester City there. Trossard scored a fantastic goal in the last friendly game [watch clip below]. He has that talent, if he gets the ball in the box, it’s often a goal, so I think he’s one of the better finishers in the Belgian team.

“I think he will be a starter at the Euros, which is a big step for him because he was basically ignored in the previous tournament at the World Cup. Now he’s playing and getting chances so of course it’s a big difference now. He’s in a good mood.

“As we’ve seen at Arsenal, he always has a good click with the manager and the team, then he will perform. Is it as a starter or an impact sub? As long as he feels well and confident, he’ll give something back.”

A successful tournament for Belgium?

“We’ll be happy if we reach the quarter-finals because we’ve not had the easiest draw. If we win our group, we’ll probably bump into the winner of France’s group in the quarter-final, so if it’s France that’s a bit of a bogey team since the World Cup in 2018. We all fear that game against them, but of course if you want to win something you will have to get past France.

Leandro Trossard celebrates scoring for Belgium

“Players are confident that they can achieve something. They think that they have to start with the ambition that they want to win it, but I think we can create a lot of chaos with our team.

“Our defence is not as good anymore, our goalkeeper is not a world-class Thibaut Courtois anymore, but we have plenty of players who can hurt teams on the counter-attack, and Trossard is one of them. He likes to play in the transition too. When we get through the group stage and bump into the big teams, we can really hurt them I think, so let’s see.”

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