Belgium proved winning mentality in stunning comeback, says coach Roberto Martinez | football | Hindustan Times
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Belgium proved winning mentality in stunning comeback, says coach Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez believes Belgium’s players have proved they care following their remarkable 3-2 World Cup victory over Japan.

football Updated: Jul 03, 2018 11:21 IST
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Belgium coach Roberto Martinez celebrates with Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after winning the round of 16 match between Belgium and Japan.(AP)

Roberto Martinez praised his Belgium players for proving their winning mentality as the Red Devils came from two goals down to beat Japan 3-2 in the World Cup last 16.

Substitute Nacer Chadli capped off a stunning counter-attack to complete the remarkable turnaround in the final minute of stoppage time in Rostov-on-Don, setting up a quarter-final clash with Brazil.

Belgium’s chances of making the last eight looked far more remote in the 52nd minute, however, when Takashi Inui lashed home Japan’s second shortly after Genki Haraguchi had opened the scoring.

But Jan Vertonghen’s stunning header hauled Belgium back into the contest before Maroune Fellaini - another Martinez change - restored parity to set up the grandstand finish, with Chadli on hand to tuck home the winner with the last kick.

“We can be proud of the players. Everyone in Belgium, this is for them, thank you for your support and keep believing,” Martinez said.

ALSO READ | Belgium beat Japan 3-2 to reach FIFA World Cup 2018 quarter-finals

“These players care. In the World Cup sometimes you want to be perfect, but in the knockout stage, it’s about getting through and the boys showed that incredible winning mentality today.

“You get pushed in games, you have to congratulate Japan, they were the perfect game, they were so solid, they frustrated us. They were clinical on the counter.

“And then it is a test of character, a test of the team and you have to see the reaction of the subs, the reaction everybody to get back in the game, to win a game 3-2 like this in a World Cup tells you everything about this group of players.”

First Published: Jul 03, 2018 02:14 IST