Back to work for Belgians as Wilmots demands more
“Now that we are in the quarter-final we have got to try and go all the way,” said the coach as his side looked ahead to their meeting in the last eight with Argentina in Brasilia on Saturday.
“This generation is writing its own page in the history of Belgian football and has already shown its potential. I have placed the bar high for my guys but now I’m going to make it even higher. I’d prefer we raise our objectives rather than seek to be comfortable,” he told reporters. “What we are going to do is ensure that we play at a high level. We have to literally burn ourselves out.”
Belgium squeezed through a thrilling two-hour contest with the U.S in their last 16 tie in Salvador on Wednesday, creating 27 chances in an overwhelming display and yet clung on precariously to a 2-1 lead at the end of extra time as both teams left little behind on the pitch. “There is not much time for recovery and we’ve got to plan now for Argentina,” Wilmots said.
The meeting with a side dominated by Lionel Messi drew obvious questions about the parallels with Belgium’s last significant World Cup performance, when they reached the 1986 semi-finals only to be mesmerised by Diego Maradona as Argentina beat them 2-0 in Mexico City.
NOT WORKING ON MESSI
“We are not working on Messi, we’ll be challenging Argentina as a block. Switzerland showed how to play against them, they had a very good game,” Wilmots said of the 1-0 defeat by the Swiss to Argentina in their last 16 game in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
“I saw an Argentina side playing with three centre backs, two fullbacks pressing up high and Di Maria given a free reign. But I also saw a lack of balance at times.” Belgium put on a much better showing in the knockout round after cruising through the group phase but their finishing was an area for concern as they failed to turn a dominant showing on Tuesday into a runaway triumph.
“But we made a lot of chances because we played good football. Argentina will be different because they have good defenders. I want to see what we can do but I have ideas in my head already, don’t worry.” Wilmots added defender Thomas Vermaelen would be back from a hamstring injury for Saturday’s game and Belgium also see midfielder Steven Defour return from suspension.
(Editing by Justin Palmer; [email protected]佛山桑拿网,; +55 21985471451; Reuters Messaging: mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters佛山桑拿网,@reuters佛山桑拿,; To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on 佛山桑拿,forms.thomsonreuters佛山桑拿网,/global_sports_forum)