Roberto Martinez believes Belgium will be able to withstand the burden of expectation.


Roberto Martinez believes Belgium will be able to withstand the burden of expectation.

Belgium’s manager, Roberto Martinez, has urged his players to cope with increased expectations as they prepare for the Euro 2020 finals as the finest side in the world.

The Belgians finished third at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and will meet the tournament’s hosts in St Petersburg on Saturday evening as one of the favorites to win the trophy and sit atop FIFA’s rankings.

“It’s not just the last tournament, it’s the last three years when the team reaches the level of continuity and consistency that is shown in the world rankings, I’m sure there is more expectation and there are more neutral fans who follow the team,” Martinez said at a press conference when asked if his players could handle the pressure.

“However, that makes no difference to us. I don’t believe this team will suffer as a result of the pressure. I believe we have enough experience to handle the pressure.”

Belgium will begin their quest for glory without Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel, who remained at their Tubize training camp as they continue to make strong progress in their individual injury recoveries.

However, having finished first and second in Group I in qualification, with the Belgians having a spotless record and the Russians winning eight of their ten games but losing both home and away to Martinez’s side, there will be nothing the two teams do not know about each other.

Artem Dzyuba was paired alongside Aleksei Miranchuk against Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, and Jan Vertonghen in a 3-1 loss in Brussels, and he knows what to anticipate.

“I’d rather play than fight,” he said at a press conference. We don’t just play in the air all the time; we also attack from various angles.

“I recall them being really strong, disciplined, and well-organized, so I know exactly what is required of me in this situation. (This is a brief piece.)


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