Martinez proud of Belgium’s masterplan

Roberto Martinez was left bursting with pride after praising his Belgium players for executing his tactical plan in their World Cup semi-final win over Brazil.

Martinez switched from his favoured 3-4-2-1 set-up to a 4-3-3 in Kazan and it paid off, as Brazil struggled to cope with the Red Devils during the first half.

A Fernandinho own goal and a slick second from Kevin De Bruyne gave Belgium a 2-0 advantage and although Renato Augusto pulled one back with 15 minutes to go, Martinez’s men held on.

After securing Belgium’s first semi-final appearance since 1986, Martinez delivered a glowing tribute to his side.

“I’m the proudest man on earth because I gave the players a very tough tactical assignment and the way they believed until the last second was incredible,” he said.

“They’ve done something special and I hope everyone in Belgium is very, very proud.

“It would be very easy to think you turn up and win a football game but you cannot do that against Brazil.

“We had to be brave tactically and to do that in a World Cup, the players have to believe. It’s about execution of the tactics.

“Brazil adapted better in the second half. Then it’s not a game of tactics, it’s a game of heart and belief, talking, all the aspects you have to show to be a great team.

“It was a performance of both things, tactics and heart.”