Future bright for Belgium despite failure to win trophy - Martinez

Elena Summers
July 13, 2018

"We also invite them to the game to be played around those dates at the Camp Nou", the club said in a tweet.

England's defender Kyle Walker reacts after the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.br / Croatia will play France in the World Cup final after they beat England 2-1 in extra-time on Wednesday thanks to a Mario Mandzukic goal in the second period of extra-time.

"It is something exceptional - I am very happy for my players", he said. "We are going to play England in the League of Nations (in October) and we don't have a proper stadium to play that game". In 2017, after France had reached the final of EURO 2016, Deschamps signed a contract extension until 2020. But Belgians will now wonder if they have seen the best chance for this talented generation of players to win a major global title.

As for who they will be backing come Sunday, when France will face either Croatia or ancient rivals England, some in Belgium admit that, for all their closeness to French culture, especially in the French-speaking south, it will be hard to cheer for Tuesday's victors in the "Asterix vs Tintin" derby.

"We've always had targets and we've achieved them but we wanted to go the whole way". We could easily have come to this stage and frozen.

"It is an unforgettable moment - I remember Zizou at the Arc de Triomphe, and I hope that we will have our chance".

Of course it helps that he has N'Golo Kante at his side.


"When [Didier] Deschamps took off [Olivier] Giroud to bring on [Steven] Nzonzi, then Pogba had more freedom, but had freedom not to do silly things".

"It's very good for Belgium", she said. Everyone has been out on the streets celebrating what we've achieved and that is a great source of pride for us.

"We did what the coach asked of us, we were competitive in every aspect of the match, and we finally scored from a set piece". We are going to do everything to be on the right side and make sure what happened two years ago does not happen again.

Gareth Southgate admits the third-place play-off is not a game that any team wants to play in, leaving the England manager facing a challenge to prepare his players in the wake of their World Cup heartache.

With the sting of another World Cup disappointment still fresh and an obligatory match remaining, Belgium is already weighing how much it will have to remake its roster to finally win a major title.

"I think [Belgium coach Roberto] Martinez had made a decision to put (Marouane) Fellaini on him so Fellaini was only anxious about Pogba, so of course he had less freedom on the ball, but he knew what to do, he left very little waste".

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