REACTIONS.  Alderweireld and Dendoncker happy with the zero: “This was not an easy move”


The Red Devils have won with the smallest difference against Poland. A goal by Michy Batshuayi in the first half convinced the Belgians. Toby Alderweireld showed himself critical of the vanguard of the Belgians afterwards, but was, like Leander Dendoncker, satisfied with the clean sheet.

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Toby Alderweireld: “We have to finish the chances up front”

After the narrow victory against Poland, Alderweireld was not completely satisfied with the match of the Red Devils. “Our first half was good,” he said. “We have to play better up front in the second half. Not only opportunities, but also want to put pressure. In the back we take risks to play good football. We just need to do better and level up. Then we’ll just make those 0-2 and 0-3, but now we haven’t done that. We have to finish that. But all in all it was a good game from us. Then you’ll eventually get away with it. But we were in control and played mature.”

“We always play matches at the photo finish. We have to take steps in that direction. We infiltrate in the back when we have to and play the ball well. Then you have to hold that ball up front and finish the chances.” Alderweireld did have respect for the Polish team, though. “In the Netherlands, Poland draws 2-2. It’s not an easy team. There were 50,000 people here. You may not have noticed, but this is not an easy move. At the World Cup we will also have difficult matches. Fortunately we were very strong on the ball, but we can do even better. This was a game we had to win to stay in the running for first place and we did. In September we now have new opportunities for group profit.”


Leander Dendoncker: “If I can be a teacher, it doesn’t matter where I stand”

Dendoncker again delivered a defensive masterclass to the Red Devils in the back. Whether the Wolves player has definitely taken his place in the center back? “That is up to the coach to decide,” said the former Anderlecht player. “It’s cliche, but it’s true. I just try to do my best.”

The fact that Dendoncker is in the center of the back and not in midfield does not matter to him. “I feel comfortable here and I get a lot of help from the players next to me. Playing in the back is different from the midfield. In the center in the back you have to be constantly focused and you have to talk a lot. Keeping the zero is also important, and we have now succeeded in that. The coach has known for some time that I can play in the back, because it is not the first time. It had been a while for this four-part series, but I had already done it. If you can be the owner of your national team, it doesn’t matter where you play,” said the 27-year-old Belgian.


Roberto Martinez: “We clearly learned from the game against Wales

“This was an important victory,” national team coach Roberto Martinez began his post-match analysis. “We knew we had to control the game. We didn’t want to give the momentum to Poland at home. We wanted to kill the game with a second goal. We made good moves, even when the substitutes came on the field. We didn’t look like a team with new players on, we were well attuned to each other. But if you fail to score that second goal, it will always happen at some point in the game that the home side will come up anyway. That is normal. We created seven corners and many good plays. It’s normal for them to come up anyway, but we clearly learned from the last 15 minutes against Wales. This time we controlled our own sixteen better. We wanted to extract information from these matches with a view to the World Cup. We did. The results were a bit disappointing, but perfection does not exist in life. We had a good reaction after the game against Wales.”

Finally, Martinez also got some questions about his future with the Red Devils. Is it not strange to finish the World Cup wet? “No”, the national coach replied without really saying that he will definitely leave the Red Devils after the World Cup in Qatar. “As a national coach you work from tournament to tournament. My only concern now is the World Cup. We want to be as good as possible at the World Cup, also for the fans. I’m not worried about retiring as Belgium national coach after a big tournament.”

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