Netherlands showdown perfect World Cup preparation: Martinez

Martinez will have to watch from the stands following a red card in Thursday's tense 2-1 win over Wales

Reuters
Published : 24 Sept 2022, 04:36 PM
Updated : 24 Sept 2022, 04:36 PM

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez says Sunday's do-or-die Nations League A clash with the Netherlands in Amsterdam is the perfect preparation for the World Cup in Qatar as his team chase victory by three clear goals to qualify for the semi-finals.

Martinez will have to watch from the stands following a red card in Thursday's tense 2-1 win over Wales, a result that leaves his side still in with a chance of topping their pool.

This will be the final match for Belgium before they travel to Qatar and Martinez wants the confidence boost of not only the right result, but a performance they can build on.

"We have the intention to go there and win but at the same time cannot lose who we are as a team," he told reporters on Saturday. "If you had said to us after we lost 4-1 to Holland (in June) that we would go into the last game still with the opportunity to finish top of the group, we would have taken it.

"It shows our innovation (as a team) and for me as a coach, I can't get better preparation for the World Cup than this game. It is almost a final, it has all the ingredients (to test their mentality).

"We need to adapt to what Holland do well, they are dynamic and have a penetrating front strike force. They can defend with the ball and are a very technical side."

Martinez said he has no thoughts of revenge against their neighbours for June's mauling and is only concentrating on getting his team to play at their highest level.

"It is not a thing of revenge, we want to improve and become better. It is a feeling of trying to finish the job well," he said.

"I want a top performance and to see top mentality. A team that can show we can take on the emotional aspect of chasing a big scoreline. This game needs to be a step into (the World Cup)."

Martinez will watch from the stands and leave his assistant Thierry Henry to lead from the dug-out.

"I'm finding out what I can do and what I can't. I can prepare the team, so everything will be the same except the halftime interaction with the players," the Spaniard added.

"I'm looking forward to seeing Thierry Henry work. We have a very strong technical team."

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher