MOSCOW (Reuters) – After a surreal night on the Baltic Sea, where England struggled with a defeat that offered them an easier path to the finals, Belgium trusts that the World Cup's fortunes will benefit the brave.
The last time this "golden generation" of Red Die Devils thought that they had a soft draw, they blew, said coach Roberto Martinez. So, now they are ready to meet anyone coming to Japan next Monday.
After a 1-0 victory and group victory in Kaliningrad by top-rated Adnan Januzaj, the Brazilians, France and Argentina prevailed at the halfway point of the knockout round.
With the defending champion Germany is in the English half only Spain among the previous winners.
But Martinez, who before the game Er said victory was not a priority and he made nine changes in his line-up, refusing to look at the outcome in this way and emphasizing the vagaries of football.
"I do not think you can plan the ideal scenario," said the Spaniard, who has noticed the efforts of Germany and other top teams so far. "I do not think you can be successful at the World Cup by trying to find a easy way."
"We saw that in the Euro two years ago."
Belgium could not beat Germany, France or holders Spain before the final.
The Belgians felt they had a hand in the World Cup trophy after beating Hungary in the round of the last sixteen But Wales had other ideas and sent them in the quarter-finals 3-1.
"In a not-so-difficult non-game England looked cynical and Belgium ruled on Stop tainting his image, "Brussels-based Le Soir concluded after Thursday's game in which England coach Gareth Southgate did little to rescue a draw in the last half-hour.
The Flemish daily De Standaard cried b: "The Red Devils have shown that they are athletic and ambitious and are not afraid of anyone – not even against Brazil in the quarter-finals."
Martinez has celebrated the joy of his entire team on the field and has built a team spirit in the ego battles shook the Belgian under his predecessor Marc Wilmots at the last World Cup and at the European Championships.
"We just wanted to have fun on the pitch," said 21-year-old attacking midfielder Youri Tielemans, who put English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford ahead in the first half with a long-range shot.
"All these calculations were not for us but for the press Both draw halves are difficult We have shown that we are very competitive throughout the squad We are all good."
Edited by Peter Rutherford