Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has praised playmaker Kevin de Bruyne ahead of the Red Devils’ semifinal clash against France. Martinez hailed the Man City star’s execution as “exceptional” and said that he could “play in any position apart from goalkeeper” at a high level.
Martinez’s comments praising KdB
We had playmakers who would slow the game down, Kevin is different, he goes even faster. His level of execution is exceptional. Apart from goalkeeper, he could play in any position at a high level
De Bruyne was a key factor in Belgium’s upset win over the Brazilians, with his spectacular goal earning him the MOTM award. He, along with Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, were a constant threat to the Brazilian back four of Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Miranda and Fagner all evening.
The winner of Belgium’s semifinal against Les Bleus will take on either Croatia or England in the final.
With Brazil’s elimination at the hands of Belgium in Kazan, the 2018 World Cup has now become an all-European affair. It’s only the fifth World Cup in history to have only European teams in the last four- the others being Italy 1934, England 1966, Spain 1982 and Germany 2006. Three of those four Cups were worn by Italy, with ’66 being the only exception (another signing it’s coming home?)
The first semifinal at the 2018 Wold Cup will see France square off against Belgium.
The second semifinal will see England take on Croatia.
Ahead of France’s quarterfinal against Uruguay, Antoine Griezmann has likened La Celeste’s style of playing to that of his club, La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid. France beat Argentina 4-3 to advance to the last eight, while Uruguay beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal to set up a clash with Les Bleus.
At the press conference, Griezmann had this to say
They’ll take their time, fall over and harass the referee. That’s their game & it’s what we do at Atletico. We will have to adapt, because the match will be frustrating
There is plenty of Uruguayan flavour at Atleti, with the most prominent being defender Diego Godin who is also the godfather of Griezmann’s daughter.
After France’s 0-0 stalemate with Denmark, a game that was universally mocked as boring, Griezmann had said he was used to playing that way with Atleti.
At club level, we play that way often. It is true that it was not very pretty to see at the stadium or on TV. I am sorry for the people who expected lots of goals or nice moves, which was not the case here
Under Diego Simeone, Atleti have developed a reputation of being a strong, no nonsense defensive side. Perhaps a far cry from the style Griezmann thought he would’ve been playing when he adored the likes of Zidane and Henry as a kid, but to his credit, he’s got used to it.