Our man in Russia: ‘The trauma of ’86 is the past’

The focus is on the Belgians is great. “There are two finals.’ But one thing they have of themselves of the past: the trauma of ’86.

The Red Devils celebrate after victory over Brazil. © BELGA

William, a few seconds after the kick-off, when he saw how the Belgians were. Desperately he looked to the Brazilian bank.

He stuck a few fingers. Four, five, three. And looked for Tite, asking: ‘Coach? And? What do we do? That men are very different than you have been told…’

Tielemans, an hour after the game, in front of the press in the mixed zone about subbing: ‘Yes, I had been ready. But the coach did not know what he had to do. Il ne savait pas quoi faire.’


The victory against Brazil has this generation of players are freed from the trauma of ’86

Day after

Moscow the day after. The substance of the commotion, where the elimination of the Seleção by the Red Devils has made, is again, not going to lie. It has to be said: the Brazilian supporters remained dignified in their disappointment. The Belgians also. In the chaos of the airport of Kazan fell no complaints to note. Because chaos was there. For the first time in this tournament, we saw how the Russians all agree not under control and had panikeerden, but closed and all of their course left. Way, way, said the girl at the information booth. We were.. Because the answers had they not. She was even a bit ridiculous to maintain that there is no delay, because even though it was 3u35 and later 4u10, our plane left to 3u05. So was it on the board.

The Red Devils have not noticed, their escort led them in front of us safely to the airport and on the tarmac. But behind it was the so drama. The small airport of Kazan was not foreseen at the influx of so many fans. Belgian charters, Brazilian supportersvluchten, additional scheduled flights and in between also some private aircraft who wanted to leave. Result: everyone delay, zero communication, and lots of people who are exhausted and submission to their fate, suffering. Strange: at three o’clock it was already brighten.


Back to the match, and those two anecdotes about the confusion of the players. Maybe put Tielemans what is wrong, and knew Martínez was not directly how his competition was to see tilt, or he wanted to still wait, to see if the Brazilians scored, when, and how he then had to react. He walked his options. A player is only with one thing: as soon as possible that field.

The confusion William was, however, rightly so, because even though we had all of the united pre-guessed the tactics of Martínez leaked. The defense with four, advancing De Bruyne to the point, Lukaku as a right-winger.. Tite was surprised. William also. Hence the questioning looks from the right to the bank. It happened just before the Belgian. Which enjoyed.

We sometimes have the tendency to the contribution of the trainer to overestimate. The players on the field make the difference. If Thiago Silva has the ball in the early stages not on the pole devieert but just next to it, or the Brazilians are more efficient in their finishing, Tite might be the man of the big equal. Now thanks everyone the intellect of Martínez. A coach for the tournament was still being burned by many for not selecting Nainggolan, and after an hour against Japan for the reckless formation, and a tactic that at 2-0, especially, seemed to have failed.

A coach is only as good as the end result. And that is in favor of Martínez, who scored with his communication and his eye for the family, but also with his tactical flexibility. Here two, three matches in his favor angel. The approach in the second half against Panama, resolutely choose for the rest of the basisspelers against England, the bills of exchange against Japan and now the to perfection executed uitgedokterde approach against Brazil. All praise is in place, all depends always together with a bit of luck. If Hazard is not the match of his life, like all the others, Alderweireld and Courtois in the defense, the midfielders, and Lukaku., we can now have a final balance sheet format. And still no pre. On the other hand: the players and thus to excite that they are the best out of themselves (because the small was strongly stimulated), that is also his task.

Two options

What tactics are concerned, perhaps we were in the final stage of the match, a taste of what we have against the French is waiting for you. Then came Vermaelen , a few minutes of intensity in anticipation of?

Now, Meunier has been suspended, there are two options: or you get to keep, and if he is starting tomorrow against the outside world for the first time, his story, will Martinez that as well proclaim, your 3-4-3 and put Chadli on the right wing, such as that in the practice matches has already been done. And then Carrasco on the left side to play football, after a game of rest, slowly getting recovered. De Bruyne will not be more backward in this tournament, against a French team with strength (Pogba) and length (Matuidi, is looking forward to, Giroud) are the centimeters and kilos of Fellaini essential. And moreover, in the most important competitions in the freedom and the choices that De Bruyne therein made, has proved to be essential.

Or you grab back to what everyone in Belgium already for a long time, to a defense with four. The defense of.. Wilmots. With Alderweireld on the right, Kompany and Vermaelen central and Vertonghen to the left.

“With three man back, he saves the never”, said Wilmots for the start of the tournament. Wondering if Martínez that tomorrow and Monday, if he is during the tactical training team, also. During Japan, he gave Wilmots equal, against Brazil also. Martinez is stubborn, but not at the expense of the result.


A thing is now of the job. It was internal, apparently, huge, and Friday it came there after the match for the first time. The victory against Brazil and reach the semi-finals in this world cup, this generation of players are freed from the trauma of ’86. That the players then were repeatedly performed, and always with contempt or in perspective talked about the performance of the boys as internationals, while those in the best clubs of Europe to play football, she was apparently higher than we all thought.

It’s a bit like the eternal debate in Argentina between Maradona and Messi. Or that between two countries about who was the greatest was Maradona or Pele? Or that between Messi and Ronaldo, Cristiano.

Perhaps that is the lesson of Russia. That we have no apples with pears more need to compare. Every generation/every player has/had merit. That of ’86. The celebrities that we just opnoemden. And this gang of friends, in a very different, modern conditions.

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