Roberto Martinez: Brazil has knowhow, mentality to win a World Cup

The Belgium manager, speaking to reporters on match eve, sounded confident of his team progressing through to the semifinals at the expense of Brazil.

Roberto Martinez showed great acumen to turn around the last-16 match against Japan.   -  Getty Images

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez is quietly confident of guiding his team through against the perennial World Cup favourite Brazil. “We are looking forward to the game and we are excited to see Brazil in front of us,” he said, on the eve of the quarterfinals clash. “We shouldn't be in awe of the opportunity we have and try to be perfect while enjoying the game. We have to be ourselves when we are on the pitch.”

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Paying rich compliments to the opponent, Martinez said: “Brazil deserves all the adjectives that you can find because of the quality, style they bring to the table. They have the knowhow, the mentality of how to win a World Cup.”

The manager, whose change in tactics helped Belgium to turnaround a 2-0 deficit in its last game against Japan, is proud of his team’s fighting spirit and is willing to adapt different tactics in search of the win. “Not too many teams in a World Cup can show that they have come back from 2-0 down and this squad is special. For two years we have been working towards this moment and we are ready to give our best,” he said.

“Systems cannot be rigid. You need to make changes that help the team. But the players make a system and we will work out a method that works best for our players. We have been through demanding situations from day one and we have overcome them.”

Lauding the role played by the team’s skipper and talisman Eden Hazard, the manger added: “Eden has been a real captain. He has been decisive in our attacking play and he has been a leader for the group. He makes football a beautiful sport, putting a smile on people’s face.”

Belgium, whose best World Cup run came in 1986 when it reached the semifinals, is looking to use the knowledge of the team’s French assistant coach, Thierry Henry, who won the 1998 World Cup with France. “Henry brings that knowhow of how to win big tournaments. He is playing a massive part in our day to day work along with the rest of the support team,” Martinez said.

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