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Sunday, 11 June, 2000, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Co-hosts get Belgium in party mood
Marc Wilmots
Marc Wilmots: Craig Brown's man of the match
Belgium deserved their win over Sweden, writes Scotland manager and Radio 5 Live Euro 2000 summariser Craig Brown.

The city of Brussels was painted red after Belgium's victory over Sweden in the opening game of Euro 2000.

Like most curtain raisers, it was a nervous start by the hosts but a goal out of the blue from the impressive Bart Goor sent the home crowd into raptures and began a party which will go on long into the first week of the tournament.

Personally, I believe Belgium just about edged the game and the introduction of new Aston Villa striker Luc Nilis added calm and experience to a reasonably youthful side just when they needed it most.

Early promise

Sweden promised so much early on, but faded when Emile Mpenza hammered home Belgium's second and decisive goal.

Craig Brown
Craig Brown: "Belgium edged the game"
Belgium should use this victory as their platform to qualification to the next round. They are a strong side playing in their home country and I feel one more win should take them through to the next stage.

It's great to see the home side winning. There has been so much excitement in Holland but I felt that Brussels needed livening up when I arrived at the game.

Now Belgium have won their opening game, spirits have been raised and the tournament has been given the kick off it fully deserved.

However, the Swedes should take heart from their bright start to the game and I fully expect them to bounce back from this defeat.

Wilmots made his mark

If any team has the character to recover from defeat, it's the Swedes.

They have some experienced players and the likes of Fredrik Ljungberg and Mjallby - two players I am very familiar with - deserved to be on the winning team after their performances.

I also thought the Swedes improved when their inspirational forward, Henrik Larsson, was brought on as a substitute.

He really lifted the team although if I had to single one player out for his industry, it would have to be Belgium midfielder Marc Wilmots.

I thought he was by far the hardest worker on the pitch and would be my man of the match.

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See also:

10 Jun 00 | Belgium
Belgium kick off with fine win
10 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Opening ceremony - in pictures
10 Jun 00 | Belgium
Spectacular opening for Euro 2000
10 Jun 00 | Belgium
Goor's happy families
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