Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has cautioned his team against complacency ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-final against France.
All eyes will be on Martinez’s team as they take on France in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday evening as they jostle for a place in Sunday’s final in Moscow.
The match is going to be tactical astuteness and mental strength.
The two coaches both pay attention to detail and should’ve identified the others’ strengths and weaknesses by now, especially after the two quarter-final matches.
However Martinez, who has been at the helm of Belgium for the last two years, says France will present a different challenge which requires different tactics with concentration as key.
“When you face a team like France, you know that you need to concentrate for 90 minutes. I think the understanding between the two squads is clear – many players play against each other in the leagues regularly. Some of the players share dressing rooms. So I think this is the perfect game in order to be focused and as good as you can be for the semi-final,” says Martinez.
France have built a team for the past four years and the results are evident in the world’s greatest showpiece currently underway in Russia.
But French coach Didier Deschamps says the Belgians are a difficult and tough opponent.
“This Belgium team is really able to perform. They attack very fast. They do it well, they do it fast. So I have made sure that my players are prepared for any scenarios for the beginning of the match, any compositions and during the match as well if that changes. This is not specifically to Belgium, it can happen with any opponent.”
The two teams have played each other six times in previous World Cup tournaments and it’s neck and neck, with two wins each.
Two of those matches ended in draws.