Martinez hails value of Belgium second string

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Jun 2018 10:42:00


KALININGRAD,

(AFP),

BELGIUM coach Roberto Martinez said he was delighted with his reserve line-up’s win over England that sealed top spot in World Cup Group G and set up a last-16 match against Japan. Martinez made nine changes from the team that beat Tunisia 5-2 and Adnan Januzaj scored the only goal with a superb strike in the 51st minute against an England team that was also much changed and without Harry Kane.

The debate before the match was about how much either side really wanted to win because finishing second arguably leads to an easier route through the knockout stage. “The victory is a consequence of a very good performance. You cannot plan the ideal scenario, you’ve seen big nations already eliminated,” Martinez said.

“We need to look at ourselves. We are a stronger group than we were before the game.” Martinez said he was “delighted in the manner we won it”. “Many debutants were desperate to be involved and that pleases me,” he added. “We have a stronger team than we did 90 minutes ago.” Belgium will face Japan in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.