BUFFEL WOOS COACH AND PRESS ON DEBUT

Despite no more than a narrow 1-0 win in tiny Andorra, new Belgian cap Thomas Buffel was reasonably upbeat about his international debut Saturday. ‘The reviews are good and the coach was pleased. So I think I can be satisfied,’ Buffel told feyenoord.nl. ‘But I do hope to get more space on Wednesday night against Estonia to show what I can do. The game Andorra played made that almost impossible.’

Playing the entire ninety minutes, Buffel was generally felt to be the best player on the park. Coach Aimé Anthuenis was certainly not mincing his words, hailing the Feyenoorder as the ‘big plus’ on the night. 'Thomas was always available and dangerous. This man is part of the future of Belgian football,' Antheunis told Flemish broadcaster VRT. The original plan anticipated Buffel taking up a position just behind the main strikers, but an injury to Bob Peeters in the runup to the game meant things turned out differently. ‘As a result I started as second striker, the same position I play at Feyenoord,' Buffel told feyenoord.nl. ‘It was quite a job, because the minnows of European football are not prepared to be slaughtered like they used to be and Andorra built a solid wall. It was really dismal; they played with a ten-man defence and one very deep striker. They tried on every timewasting trick in the book; even the ball boys had instructions to give the balls back as slowly as possible. So it was difficult to get any pace into the game and I had to go deep to get the ball. I did score after twenty minutes, but the ref ruled it out for offside even though it was a good goal. Thankfully Sonck did score, otherwise we would have ended up with nothing after a horrible game. But all in all I’m satisfied. I had a reasonable game and it was a good opportunity to get to know the lads.’ ’We now have a day free and I’ll report Monday for the journey to Estonia. Their coach is Arno Pijpers, who I know from his time at Feyenoord. So I am hopeful that his team will be more positive than Andorra. Maybe I can get my first goal for Belgium.’

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