Belgium not taking Canada flippantly in opening recreation of FIFA World Cup

A loss to Egypt in an exhibition recreation this previous Friday has the Belgian press and followers very nervous the window of success is closing shortly.

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DOHA, Qatar — Belgium is staff in transition, however nonetheless thought of among the many greatest on the planet and a contender to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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A loss to Egypt in an exhibition recreation this previous Friday has the Belgian press and followers very nervous that the window of success is closing shortly.

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Belgium has been a high aspect for the higher a part of a decade and made it to the semifinals of the World Cup 4 years in the past, earlier than dropping to eventual champions France.

“I perceive the staff in 2018 was distinctive and everyone had reached an exceptionally excessive stage with their groups and in Belgium; the whole squad was at a excessive stage,” Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen mentioned on Tuesday. “I perceive you (media) might have some doubts now, additionally in view of the outcomes. A few gamers who had been leaders on the time are now not enjoying for us. We’re actually lacking them now and so they have been changed.

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“However I see the blokes which have taken these locations have nice potential. Now we have a number of choices amongst our forwards. There was a time the place there was little or no room for expertise arising and that was due to the squad on the time and now there’s room for these younger guys and I am actually excited by what I see.”

Vertonghen, 35, the previous Tottenham Hotspur standout who now performs at residence for Anderlecht, is a member of the Belgian outdated guard with 142 worldwide appearances. He’ll be charged with making an attempt to neutralize Canada’s velocity, notably on the counter-attack.

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Belgium has a wholesome respect for Canada, even whether it is making its first look on the World Cup since 1986.

“We have been making ready for this recreation, Canada has an excellent squad and so they’ve certified for the primary time since 1986,” Vertonghen mentioned. “They’re sturdy defensively, and in transition, they’ve a number of velocity, so we’ve got to be ready for this, that is why our recreation in opposition to Egypt was a great wake-up name.

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“I feel they certified in a gaggle with USA and Mexico, that are two excellent groups, so we will not underestimate them.”

Whereas the 2-1 loss to Egypt has some Belgians involved, head coach Robert Martinez does not assume it was all collectively a nasty factor, contemplating the staff had been collectively for lower than every week earlier than the sport.

“The pleasant was an important recreation as a result of it was the one time the place we had two coaching classes after which we performed in a recreation,” Martinez mentioned. “We took that recreation like a aggressive coaching session, and in some ways, we had been capable of get a number of data; a number of issues we may work on and I feel that was an excellent place to begin.

“I do really feel that recreation gave us a very good alternative to do in a single recreation what you’ll in all probability do in three days collectively in coaching. We had been capable of do all of that in a single recreation.”

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Since dropping within the 2018 World Cup semifinal after which occurring to win the third-place recreation in opposition to England, issues have not all the time gone easy for Belgium. They had been knocked out sooner than anticipate within the Euros two summers in the past, and sustained a lopsided loss to the Netherlands in June.

One other loss to the Netherlands in September, previous to the Egypt defeat, maybe makes Belgium much less formidable than they had been prior to now.

“Generally it is good to really feel that we’re not there but and we nonetheless need to work laborious, and we’ve got to organize for a World Cup,” Martinez mentioned. “It in all probability gave us the wake-up that we wanted. I used to be nervous how we might react going into making ready three or 4 days earlier than going into our first recreation, the place usually you’ve 5 or 6 weeks to organize for a contest like this, and that defeat in all probability sped up the method.”

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Canada is just not anticipated to problem Belgium in its opening recreation on the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, however the Saudi Arabia win over Argentina on Tuesday, which is being celebrated all through the area, bolstered the actual fact something can occur as soon as the ball begins rolling on the World Cup.

“To start with, I’ve large respect with what Canada has achieved, as a result of whenever you end high of the group forward of nationwide groups like USA and Mexico, meaning there’s a actual substance; it isn’t a coincidence you arrive on the World Cup,” Martinez mentioned. “We all know how troublesome it’s to get to the World Cup and for Canada it is solely the second time — the primary one was in 1986 — so right away you already know this technology has one thing very, very particular.

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“They appear like a staff, they by no means appear like they’re only a group of gamers coming to signify the nationwide staff. They appear like a staff that may be very dynamic and aggressive. A staff that they know their strengths, actual tempo. A staff that likes to open their legacies and use the large areas.”

In response to Martinez, it is vital for his staff concentrate on the sport and never get caught up within the event, which could have been the state of affairs with Argentina and Saudi Arabia. Favored groups are all the time large targets within the early rounds of main competitions.

“Now we have to study what we discovered in opposition to Panama in 2018; the same emotional problem,” Martinez mentioned. “You are enjoying in opposition to a nationwide staff that had by no means been within the World Cup, and have nice constructive momentum. This can be a nice probability for them, and there’s no strain on them to win the sport. The one strain is to be nearly as good as they will and benefit from the event and that is very harmful in soccer whenever you’re dealing with a staff that has nothing to lose.”

E-mail: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

Postmedia’s soccer professional Derek Van Diest is on the bottom in Qatar to cowl each kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Subscribe right this moment and get entry to all his protection.

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