Euro 2016 - Jan, Toby ready for Belgium's big kick-off against Italy
13 June 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are relishing the prospect of an early clash of the titans when they lock horns with Italy in Euro 2016 this evening.
The defensive duo are joined by team-mate Mousa Dembele as Belgium take on Antonio Conte's men in their Group E opener in Lyon (8pm UK).
Jan summed it up this way. "It’s a very tough game but you know, I prefer to get straight into it and we’ll see then where we are. For sure, we’ll have to be right at the top of our game from the first minute."
Previously ranked number one in the world by FIFA and currently number two behind Argentina, Jan and Toby are well aware of the weight of expectation on their shoulders.
"That's normal because for one year we were number one in the world so it brings that expectation," reasoned Toby. "I think there are a lot of favourites - Spain, France, England of course - so it’s a tough challenge but I think every player is playing at the highest level with their clubs so they know what it is to play with pressure.
"We have the quality to do something but we have to see game by game. We know we have a very tough group with Italy, Sweden and Ireland so we have to be ready for the first game and don’t think too far into the future.
"In a tournament, you have to be there from day one, from the first game you have to be up there and play at your best level otherwise they punish you. Italy will be tough but we play every game to win."
Below: The pair celebrate Toby's goal against United last season
Jan added: "We played Italy last year (a 3-1 friendly win in November) and it was one of the best games we’ve played together as Belgium but we all know Italy are a tournament team."