ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Belgium coach Roberto Martinez was delighted after three of his key midfielders got here by means of a troublesome closing group match in opposition to Finland on Monday to spice up the staff’s possibilities of Euro 2020 success even additional.
Captain Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Axel Witsel, all uncertain when Belgium assembled for his or her pre-tournament preparations a fortnight earlier than Euro 2020 kicked off, proved their health within the 2-0 win over Finland.
“I used to be delighted as a result of in case you would have requested me earlier than we performed our first warm-up pleasant in opposition to Greece what I needed, it will have been to get all 9 factors from our three video games and to get all of the injured gamers again,” Martinez advised reporters.
“At that time, Axel and Kevin weren’t concerned in both of our two friendlies and Eden had simply eight minutes in opposition to Croatia. So clearly right this moment to see 90 minutes for Axel and Eden and the time that Kevin was on the pitch was very satisfying,” he added.
“Eden pushed himself and obtained in good positions and it’s the first time in a very long time I’ve see Eden Hazard turning, twisting, left and proper. He seems pleased.”
Hazard has undergone three main ankle operations whereas Witsel performed a full match for the primary time since a severe Achilles tendon damage in January. De Bruyne suffered a double facial fracture in final month’s Champions League closing.
“On prime of that, you see that each outfield participant has been on the pitch in these three video games to provide us the right momentum to go ahead to the following spherical. You get higher as a staff in case you get higher as people at this stage,” Martinez mentioned.
“This staff has been very constant during the last 5 years and it’s now only a matter of getting each particular person to his very, best possible.”
Belgium, who’re prime of the world rankings, subsequent play in Seville within the final 16 on Sunday with their opponents nonetheless to be confirmed.
“It’s going to be sizzling, on a sluggish pitch. We have to adapt and that may now be our focus for the following 5 days of preparation,” Martinez added.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)