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Our man in Russia: ‘The first match we have lost: against the supporters of the Panama

“We have a coach who dares and who is loyal. Choose for footballers with talent, even though they are not fully fit. No gambler, not in the least, but someone with a vision. Straightforward, “writes Peter T’Kint, who for Sport/Voetbalmagazine the world cup in Russia follows.

Roberto Martínez © –

For the thirteenth time, they are there, the Belgians at the world cup. For the first time with sky-high ambitions, the image of one of the assistants in the group, Thierry Henry. Ex-Monaco, Arsenal, Juventus and Barcelona. World champion in ’98, European champion in 2000. He brings to the Red Devils success?

The first match we have lost. Our stay here in Sochi in a Separate Hotel close to the stadium is dominated by supporters of Panama. Present In large numbers, not to loud singing, but still excited. For their country, this is a first, and the weather reminds them of home. On that score the 1-0. But: the luck is on our side.

Yesterday lost our colleague from Foot Magazine are phone. From the fashionable short woman in the back seat of a taxi, of whom we have no further information. Lost cause, do you think. But yes, a few hours later, he had his mobile back. A Russian tourist – the runs here are full of – had the phone on the same back seat found and our call has been answered. We were allowed him in his hotel.

Panama-Belgium 1-1.

Enough nonsense, will go the to really. Will the Devils prove that their positive communication about the approach of training and preparation, their praise for the unity of thought, the professionalism with which they were accompanied, too, all’s right with the reality. Only what now follows, is the standard by which we can judge. These three group games, and what follows will be compared to the world outside the view of a generation of our country so much joy brought with her national team atoned for.

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In principle, this golden generation already succeeded in the greatest part of her job: to Belgium again with football reconcile.

Because experience is sometimes an advantage: four decades of a national team to follow, first as a supporter, then as an observer, is to take into account with ups and downs, and waves of success and adversity. That is the euphoria of the victory against Argentina in Spain, or the disappointment of the defeat against the host nation on day one in Mexico. Euphoria and disillusionment layers at the past world cup’s close to each other, and the feeling after day 1 was not the same with the power off. Think about it, and then around 19 hours, when it’s over.

The fall of our football in the first decade of 2000 was so deep, that the boys from Beijing (and the generations behind them, as Hazard, De Bruyne or Courtois made China not count) perhaps what soon top have been lifted. Too soon for Brazil in any case. Only now is everything: experience, talent, youth, unity of thinking, team spirit, and professional management.

All respect for Vital Borkelmans, but four years ago he had to Marc Wilmots to help tactical. Now that Thierry Henry, a man with yet more vecu. That is no guarantee that, as we know, Henry ‘discovered’ in the past two years the trainerschap, but when we go to our French colleagues may believe: for journalists, he can be a difficult approachable man (in two years gave Henry still not a single interview to a written medium, but on tv), but about football talk he can.

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He had to the country to please Nainggolan can bring, that would be arrange. He had, to Hazard, to please, Benteke can bring. Martínez did not. They didn’t fit in his vision.

In principle, this golden generation already succeeded in the greatest part of her job: to Belgium again with football reconcile. In no previous decade we had so many top players at the biggest clubs of the world. In any decade, they were there as well as decisive. That is the fruit of hard work, not only in Belgium, also in the area: we have thanks to Lille and Ajax. But also at work at the top clubs, who have too many years left to invest in youth.

After the heavy failure in their own country, the cart turned, under the impetus of the belgian football association. Pennies are starting to roll, plans were unfolded, communities have been integrated. The Congolese, North African. Racism is not out of the Belgian society disappeared, however, from the Belgian football training. Largely however, because of the Lukaku’s will not agree.

They can be the icing on the cake, especially the Beijing-goers, Kompany, Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Dembele, Fellaini.. Their last trick. Which they have themselves imposed, with the knowledge that it can. Their self-awareness yet what helped by a coach who loves to conquer, for whom a goal more than the opponent is the most important thing is, that creeps in that scallop of the Belgian DNA, crawl backwards and counter, however one of the weapons of this team. We have a coach who dares and who is loyal. Choose for footballers with talent, even though they are not fully fit. No gambler, not in the least, but someone with a vision. Straightforward.

He had to the country to please Nainggolan can bring, that would be arrange. He had, to Hazard, to please, Benteke can bring, and Jordan to his brother for the sake (and to a linksbenige defender). Bob did not. They didn’t fit in his vision.

When he went to Belgium , was a rising star in England what getaand. Meanwhile he has 20 games with the national team leader. Only one he lost. The first. Any optimism is justified, he knows himself this: it is on the next four weeks that he will be settled. Not his players, all the people will be disappointed. He did. Or, as he yesterday: ‘Only the next three races will tell if we’re well prepared on this world cup.’

Kick-off soon, to 17 hours.

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