By Julien Pretot
AL RAYYAN, Qatar, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Belgium coach Roberto Martinez was happy with what he called a deserved 1-0 win over Canada at the World Cup despite the team’s “worst technical performance” in their six years in office.
After Argentina and Germany lost their opening matches, Belgium came close to suffering another big upset. But the team that finished third in the 2018 World Cup emerged victorious and leads the group by two points more than Croatia and Morocco, who drew 0-0 earlier.
“Was it technically the worst performance? Yes. Worst game? No, because it’s a World Cup win. We had to show a different side of our game and we had to defend very well. We scored a very good goal,” Martinez said at a press conference after the game.
“You have to respect Canada’s performance very much. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do well, while they did what they were supposed to do well, but we deserve the victory,” he added.
There is a lot of room for improvement for Belgium, which was a shadow of the team that reached the quarter-finals in Russia four years ago.
“We have to be self-critical and improve, but it’s better to do it when you have three points, especially after seeing what happened (with Argentina and Germany),” said Martínez.
But midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was clearly dissatisfied and was given no consolation by the man of the match award he received.
“I don’t think I played a great match, I don’t know why I got the trophy, maybe because of my name,” he said.
In the second day of the Group, Belgium will play on Sunday against Morocco.
(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Calvo Pacheco)