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Monday 16 July 2018

Our squad is special: Martinez

ALL SET: Roberto Martinez. Pic: AP
ALL SET: Roberto Martinez. Pic: AP

Roberto Martinez believes his Belgium team are ready for the challenge of Brazil and says there is "something special" about his squad.

Belgium face the five-times world champions for a place in the World Cup semi-finals in Kazan this evening.

Martinez feels his side, despite being stacked with individual talent, cannot be regarded as favourites because of their inexperience but he is convinced they can flourish.

"The two sides are very similar in terms of qualities. The difference is we haven't won a World Cup - simple as that," said the former Everton boss.

"When you go into a tournament if you don't have that know-how of winning one you can't have an advantage on the opponent. We shouldn't play Brazil, we shouldn't be in awe of the opportunity we have. We need to enjoy our game, be ourselves. When we do that our talent shows.

Positive

"There is something special in this squad, no doubt about it. The signs are positive and of a real desire to be on the football pitch.

"We can't wait. I feel we are as ready as we can be. Over the last two years we have been working towards this moment."

Belgium claimed their place in the quarter-finals by recovering from 2-0 down to beat Japan 3-2 in their last-16 tie with three goals in the last 21 minutes. Martinez said: "Against Japan we showed a mentality that not many international squads can."

Key to that victory were goals from substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli.

Martinez said: "The biggest strength in the squad is we have different ways of attacking and different ways of using our players and that is something that is important.

"The substitutions against Japan were down to a mentality of the players being ready to make an impact.

If we want to be successful we will need the same approach," added Martinez.

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