Timothy Castagne (Belgium): “We let the critics get into our heads”

Timothy Castagne is a Swiss army knife. The 26-year-old Leicester defender has played in almost every position in the selection: right or left axial (against Morocco), right or left side. Indispensable to the Red Devils, he came to explain at the start of the afternoon, the day before the decisive Belgium-Croatia (4 p.m.), the benefit which the Belgian group can derive from its summit meeting on Monday.

“How did you experience Monday’s meeting with players and staff?
It was important to tell the truth. Afterwards, it was not a crisis meeting, as I have read in many headlines. The tone did not rise high. There were no insults. We talked about what we could do to improve ourselves. We saw yesterday in training (Tuesday) that it was much better. Everyone is happy to be together.

Do you think your team is now in commando mode?
Let’s say that we try to stay together and in a much more united way. We try to protect each other. More than before. We know there is a lot of pressure. But we were perhaps going a little too far ahead. We said we were going to try to find our values, by playing and having fun. Even if we know that it is a very important match for us and the whole country. You have to use the pressure in a positive way by being more aggressive, by doing more meters.

Why believe that you will beat Croatia after the difficult days you have just had?
I am convinced of it. I know who our team is and what we are worth. You believe what you want. I am in this group. Not here to prove to anyone. We will play for us and the country. And give your all.

You say it’s important to be a united group. Does that mean you weren’t before?
Yes. But we weren’t a tight enough group. To go far in a World Cup, you have to want to go to war for your teammates. The meeting can help. But these are words. We need action on the ground. We’re not as low as everyone thinks. We have everything in hand: if we win against Croatia, we pass. It’s not a crisis. We are not so bad in terms of confidence.

Are you living your most difficult moments in selection?
No. During the final four of the League of Nations (October 2021, 4th), it was worse. It’s a tough time to lose. But that’s not what you read. We want to show that we can be a good team even under pressure. We may have let the critics get into our heads, lost the confidence we had a few weeks or years ago. At least the meeting allowed us to eliminate a lot of doubts. »

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