By Olawale Alabi
St. Petersburg – Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez, says he and his players will not allow the disappointment of missing the final match to stop them from preparing very well for the third-place match.
The Spaniard, while speaking at the post-match conference on Tuesday in St Petersburg after their 0-1 loss to France in the semi-finals, said a third-place finish would be too good to miss.
“It is going to be a difficult moment for us to manage, but we have to do it quickly and get going.
“The task of getting the players to get over today’s loss, I will admit, is going to be difficult to deal with, but I think we have something important too before us.
“In 1986 at Mexico, Belgium finished fourth, but now in Russia we can still finish third, and I think we have to look forward to that. We need to be ready to win that game.
“I don’t want my players to feel bad or disappointed at all. Now is the time to look forward to our last game here,’’ he said.
Martinez said the loss to France really hurt them, disclosing that the team’s dressing room after the match was a sad atmosphere.
“Playing in Sunday’s final match had been the dreams and hopes of all of us, because we came here to go all the way and play in the final match.
“But, that has not been the case here, because we didn’t produce the energy and sharpness needed to break down a side like this France team,’’ he said.
The coach admitted that his team lacked that “little bit of composure and movement’’ needed in the third half of the pitch during the game.
“Things could have been different for us with that. We needed that movement mostly. It is a good part of our game.
“Moreover, the fact that we couldn’t score the game’s first goal was a problem to us, because of the way the France team was organised. It was not just good for us,’’ he said.