Wilmots: We’re here to win


Belgium were reduced to ten men just before half time when Steven Defour was given his marching orders for a studs-up challenge on Shin-Wook Kim, yet rallied in the second half as Jan Vertonghen pounced on a rebounded effort to secure all three points and top spot in Group H.

“After scoring, I wanted to share my indescribable joy with our supporters,” goal-scorer and Man of the Match Vertonghen told FIFA.com after the game, before heaping praise on the Belgian faithful.

“We feel like they’re really behind us, and that’s important for the squad.

“Finishing top of the group and pulling off a late win with ten men is also a real source of satisfaction.”

Going down to ten men made the Belgian’s task a lot tougher than expected, yet their national boss was happy with his side’s performance.

“Yet again our patient approach paid off,” coach Wilmots said after the game.

“I knew that the Koreans would leave us with a lot of space to play with.

“My young team had a tendency to push forwards too much at times, so I tried to get them to relax a little.”

Despite grinding out victories by one-goal margins in all three of their group fixtures, Belgium earned maximum points in all their matches thus far, and Wilmots was quick to praise the entire squad for achieving the feat.

“It’s no easy task to finish the group stage with nine points,” he said. “It’s a truly historic achievement for Belgium, and I’d like to congratulate the staff and all the players.”

Despite not necessarily playing beautiful football, Wilmots is content that his side have qualified for the knockout stages of this year’s Mundial.

“We’re here to win, not to play beautiful football, and we’ve accomplished our mission,” he said.

Belgium face the United States in their Last 16 clash in Salvador on Tuesday.


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