World Cup: Roberto Martinez gives candid appraisal after Belgium narrowly defeated Canada.
World Cup: Roberto Martinez makes honest assessment after Belgium scrapes past Canada.
Although satisfied with the result given that countries like Argentina and Germany were defeated in their opening matches at the World Cup, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez acknowledged that his team needs to improve after securing a tight 1-0 victory over Canada.
After Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina and Japan’s victory over Germany, Canada attempted their best to pull off the third major upset of the week as they competed in their first World Cup game in 36 long years.
The Canadians had a wonderful opportunity to go in front early on, but Thibaut Courtois equalized Alphonso Davies’ penalty. The energetic Maple Leafs played with confidence and a high press, creating additional opportunities that they were unable to seize.
Just before halftime, Belgium took the lead thanks to a goal from Michy Batshuayi, who grabbed a through ball over the middle.
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This appeared to provide some calm, and Martinez’s substitutions at halftime and early in the second half also helped Belgium, putting the game beyond Canada’s reach.
“Canada deserved to be better than us in the way they played,” Martinez told BBC Match of the Day after the final whistle. “I think the result reflects the things that we had to do and the way we defended for each other and took our chance.
“It’s a win and we need to play better and to grow. We’ve been here five days, we have to grow with these games. Many top teams are losing games. This tournament is going to make you develop and grow as the tournament goes on. If you do that by winning games, it’s an incredible advantage.
“Today we didn’t win by our normal talent and quality on the ball, but you don’t win in the World Cup if you don’t do the other side of the game. We need to be realistic, we need to play well but when a team can win without playing well, it’s a lot to build on.”