Conte upbeat despite Belgium defeat


Antonio Conte felt Belgium's 3-1 victory over Italy did not tell the whole story of a lively friendly in Brussels on Friday.

After taking an early lead against the world's top-ranked side through Antonio Candreva, Italy quickly found themselves level as Jan Vertonghen equalised.

Eder and Graziano Pelle both had chances to add a second for Italy but failed to convert, something Kevin De Bruyne and substitute Michy Batshuayi had no trouble doing to seal Belgium's win.

However, Conte was pleased with a lot of what he saw as Italy began their Euro 2016 preparations with only their second defeat of 2015.

"We were facing a team that is overflowing with talent, but I remain satisfied with the performance of my lads," he told Rai Sport.

"The [key] incidents didn't go our way, as we hit the bar and missed the rebound, while we made this [mistake due to] distraction and the game changed.

"We were taking on one of the best teams in the world, among the favourites for Euro 2016. We showed the right attitude and continue our work.

"I had said beforehand, victory or defeat, the result would not change our path. Our ambition is to work hard and get the best out of this squad."

Midfielder Claudio Marchisio also felt there were positives to build on, but admitted the visitors ran out of impetus after the break.

"Belgium are among the favourites for the Euros and we knew they were an excellent side," the midfielder said. 

"Looking at it the result might seem crushing, but the truth is it was a fairly even game and we had our chances, forcing their goalkeeper into some excellent saves.

"The defeat is disappointing, but there are some very positive things to take from this match.

"Friendly or not, it's never nice to lose, but we knew that we were facing one of the best sides in the world. Unfortunately our individual errors were decisive."