This was 2018: ‘Obrigado’, Red Devils

The editors of Sports/Voetbalmagazine prefer her sportmomenten of 2018. Peter T’Kint opted for the bronze medal of the Red Devils at the world CHAMPIONSHIPS in Russia.

© Belga Image

For the fifth time we moved this past summer to a football world cup. One time as an independent, in 2006, in the absence of a Belgian team. The four other times as a ‘person’ and an expert – or rather, first-hand experience of the process of disappointments. The story of the Red Devils in a world cup, there was often one of just not. Just not better or leper – than Argentina in 2014, just not good enough for participation in 2006, just not good enough (already had the referee there is still else to decide) in 2002 against Brazil, and certainly not good enough for the leagues to survive in 1998 in Paris and Bordeaux. When it all still had to start, we sat at home for the tube.

But this summer, in that one week in July, returned it all. First, with some luck, against Japan, on the banks of the Don in Rostov. The knives were already gewet, the process of coach Roberto Martínez by some to be made. Even live on tv, it was a pale, RTBf commentator who a day after the heroic comeback and the best counter of the tournament via social media humble apology. At tournaments, journalists are emotional, sometimes closer than they want to. Although you will Belgians still not as fast in the sweater of their country to see the right jumping to score a goal.

We empathized with the friendly Japanese reporter who a few hours earlier, yet with so much praise had been heaped, for this fantastic generation of Devils who gave him so much pleasure had brought. His Konnichi wa (good day) was sincere, and his praise also. What is orphaned, he was after the uppercut of Chadli to his screen to stare at.

Four days later we flew to Kazan, to the edge of Europe. Some had after Rostov of their faith in the Devils lost. The luggage packed, all on the lookout for a flight back. Obrigado Brasil thank you, Neymar, and Coutinho, it goes you well in your quest for new gold. A balance sheet was already made, a nal world cup-interview canned.

Eleven Devils and their coach decided otherwise. Sure, it had that day last may. Brazil stormed and threatened often. As experts in the disappointments we had that processed and articulated, Wales was still fresh in the memory. But this time let the ‘golden generation’, more than in France is complete, and richer in experience than four years earlier, not trump. 0-2 after 31 minutes, it was for the Brazilians in our neighborhood to swallow. The Red Devils groaned their even after the rest under the strain, but held. The international press enjoyed it, the loftrompetten horned hard in their heads.

Gold picked up them not in this generation, or bronze. And eternal fame. And a lot of faith in their own abilities. Believe that other athletes already showed, and the hockey team recently. Maybe the sportjaar 2018 on that plane, a turning point. The realization that deep faith in their own abilities and a greater mental strength in the groepssporten – individually showed cyclists, athletes or tennis players that all of us just that little bit further.

We believe. Wir schaffen das. Obrigado, Red Devils.

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