Belgium have wealth of young talent to emerge – Martinez

Belgium have wealth of young talent to emerge – Martinez

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Highlights: France 1-0 Belgium

Belgium’s future is bright despite a 1-0 World Cup semi-final defeat by France and the issue of an aging squad, says manager Roberto Martinez.

The Red Devils’ ‘golden generation’ face the losers of England’s game with Croatia in Saturday’s third-fourth play-off before going home.

Seven of Belgium’s 23-man squad are in their 30s.

“Belgian football has got a wealth of young talent coming through,” said Martinez.

Belgium, who have never won a major tournament, impressed in Russia – knocking out Brazil in the quarter-finals – but fell short against a solid French side.

“My disappointment is huge,” said former Wigan and Everton boss Martinez.

“It wasn’t about having a good tournament and coming ‘top four’ – it was about trying to win it. It’s a sad dressing room now. We could easily have come to this stage and frozen. France are used to these big games but we coped with that side really well.”

Martinez – whose side were unbeaten in 24 games until this defeat – extended his contract in May for another two years.

“It’s too early to make any assessment for the tournament,” he said. “We need to focus on the final game and fight for third place. Then we’ll regroup.

“As it happens in any big tournament, we need to look at the younger generation and try to become stronger from tournament to tournament. And in my role I’ve got the eyes into Euro 2020 so it’s not the right moment to make an assessment just yet.”

Samuel Umtiti’s header was the only goal at the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg.

Martinez added: “The difference between defeat and winning was down to one dead-ball situation. That’s how close the game was. I’m proud of my players. We gave everything we have got. You have to congratulate France and wish them well for the final.”

France face the winners of Wednesday’s England v Croatia game in Sunday’s final.

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via BBC Sport – Football https://ift.tt/OHg7x6

July 10, 2018 at 02:42PM

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