Red Devils: Roberto Martinez says Belgium is 100% ready for Panama

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 15:36
Red Devils: Roberto Martinez says Belgium is 100% ready for Panama © Belga
Belgium’s Red Devils completed their preparation for Football World Cup 2018 with a convincing 4-1 thumping of Costa Rica on Monday evening at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
The national team’s next match will be at the World Cup on Monday, 18 June, against Panama speaking.

“We’re 100% ready for the match against Panama,” head coach Roberto Fernandez said after Monday’s match.

"We saw the difference with the first preparation match against Portugal,” added Martinez. “For example, the interaction between Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens was much better. We’ve worked every day to improve but we still need to grow in our three first-round matches. Only after that will we know exactly where we are, but I can already tell you now that we are ready for the World Cup.”

On Monday, the Red Devils had trailed 0-1 after being inflicted their first goal in a preparation match. “We then stepped up the rhythm, I saw players take up their responsibilities,” Martinez said. “The intensity rose and, from that moment, I saw a team that no longer had any doubts. We were very focussed and we did not give our opponents any more chances.”

The starting line-up against Panama should be the same as against Costa Rica. This means Dedryck Boyata will be the first substitute in case Vincent Kompany or Thomas Vermaelen is unavailable, or if one of them is rested at the start of the tournament.

“Boyata is well adapted to the circumstances today,” the head coach said. “Dendoncker played again like he did at Anderlecht, and Ciman has a big responsibility in the clean sheet against Egypt. Alderwereild is fresh after his heavy season at Tottenham and Jan Vertonghen has brought us his experience.”

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times
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