Wilmots hits back at critics, labels France favourites for Euro 2016

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has hit back at critics of his management and claimed France are the favourites to win Euro 2016.

The 46-year-old has been in charge of Belgium since 2012 and guided them to the World Cup in 2014, where they reached the quarter-finals.

Since then, Wilmots has successfully secured qualification for next year's championships in France as Belgium have risen to top spot in the FIFA world rankings.

However, the head coach has still come under fire for some of his side's performances, something he believes is unjust, saying that the results speak for themselves.

"Football has never stopped me from sleeping - the criticism part of the territory," he said to RTBF.

"But with results like mine, a foreign coach would already have his statue.

"Everyone is free to have an opinion and express it, but I never have doubts. We are on my path, the results argue for me and I will die with my ideas.

"Yes, I will leave after the Euros, but on vacation! The question of the future does not interest me, I am under contract until 2018 and I am already preparing the campaign for Russia."

Wilmots feels the race to win the Euros next year is open, but says hosts France go into the event as the team to beat.

He continued: "We are one of six or seven teams that can do it, but France are my big favourites. They play at home and have an exceptional core; I have also told Didier Deschamps this."

Wilmots is certain his team will not go into the event with any overconfidence despite the talent in their squad and the new-found status.

"My Belgium team is made of stars but not of egos," he added. "I see a bunch of kids who come to have fun and those who do not accept my choices can stay at home.

"Morale is important; I have always said the heart of my team is the bench."

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1