The national coach, Roberto Martinez, stated, “We have to appreciate that Brazil is the best team in the competition.” On Monday in Rostov-on-Don, the Red Devils outplayed Japan (final score: 3-2) in the last sixteen of the World Cup, owing to a goal by Nacer Chadli in literally the final second of the game (90 minutes + 4 seconds), entitling them to face the “Auriverdes” in the quarter finals on Friday.
Speaking in a press conference, the Catalan said, “They [Brazil] have so many individual qualities and players able to decide the match outcome in a second, such as Coutinho or Neymar.” He went on, “People must hear of our performance today (Monday, editor’s note). When the match started, we played in a responsible manner, but almost with a certain sort of fear that we would not succeed in qualifying.”
Paradoxically, Martinez is convinced that when the score was 0-2 to Japan, this somewhat liberated his players. “They told themselves that they had nothing to lose, and that they could almost take advantage of this opportunity to come back in the match.” Martinez added, “I think that when we play Brazil, we will make the most of this from the beginning of the match, as we’re not the favourites to win, and nobody is expecting us to qualify.”
On Friday in Kazan (8 p.m.), Belgium will face Brazil for the fifth time in its history, the second on the World Cup stage having been eliminated by Brazil, in the last sixteen, in 2002.