Belgium vs Russia World Cup 2014 match preview: Marc Wilmots turns up the heat on Fabio Capello


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The Independent Football

The Belgian manager Marc Wilmots has piled the pressure on Russia ahead of the two nations’ clash in Rio de Janeiro, insisting that Fabio Capello’s side had everything to do and that his own players can afford to be patient.

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Russia’s poor start to the tournament – a 1-1 draw with South Korea – has put the national side and Capello under pressure in Moscow. The Russians expected better, with a poll before the tournament finding that a fifth of the population actually thought their country could win this competition. Wilmots’ Belgian team started unconvincingly, too, against Algeria but they did come through to win the game, thanks to substitute Marouane Fellani who is expected to start instead of Tottenham Hotspur’s Nacer Chadli.

“Russia must win and they are the team under pressure so we must be patient,” Wilmots said. “Russia need the win more than we do.” He defended his team selection against the Algerians, which did not work and – to the surprise of many on the Belgian camp – insisted all had been good against the North Africans.


“Against Algeria everything was fine,” he said. “When you don’t give the opponent an opportunity and you have six good opportunities, it’s a good game. It’s difficult to play against a [five-man defensive] block like Algeria.”

Romelu Lukaku said that his side’s stuttering performance was a result of nerves and suggested that Fellani starting behind him would make the Belgians more slick. “It is always better for me when Fellaini plays. He is another player who can give power and presence in the box,” he said. “The defender has an eye for Fellani and that then creates space for me.”

The rescue job accomplished by Zenit striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov against the South Koreans might have earned himself a spot at Fabio Capello’s starting line-up.