Roberto Martinez (Belgium) after the victory against Canada: “It’s not an accident”

“Is this Belgium’s worst performance in a tournament since you’ve coached them? On a technical level yes, it was perhaps our worst performance (in a tournament). But it wasn’t the worst overall because we won. Being able to win a World Cup game when you’re playing badly is no accident. We had to defend well and we were lucky to have a goalkeeper in top form. We were frustrated but we were able to find solutions.

Did Belgium deserve to win?
I think the Canadians were better, in what they managed to put in place on the field, but I also think that we found a way to deserve our victory. We also have to have a lot of respect for the performance of the Canadiens. They did what they had to do very well, they were aggressive. And we didn’t defend well enough and in a way, we played the match they expected of us. But I was very satisfied with the behavior of our substitutes, because you can’t hope to win a tournament like this with only 11 players…

Are you worried about the performance of your players?
No, because it’s not a classic tournament, before which we would have had four or five weeks of preparation. There, it has only been five days since we arrived in Qatar. We have to manage to raise our level of play over the group stage. I think that, even more than usual, this World Cup will be separated into two very different phases, the group phase, which should gradually bring us to our best level, and the knockout phase.

In this context, I am delighted that, even without playing well, even without being ourselves, we managed to win today against a very strong team, in which everyone attacks and everyone defends. Having managed to keep a clean sheet against the Canadians is a very satisfying way to start the tournament. »

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