Marc Wilmots: Argentina 'lack balance'

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Friday, July 4, 2014

After defeating the United States on Tuesday, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots immediately turned his attention to his next opponents, saying Argentina show "a lack of balance."

Belgium reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the second time in their history, ending a 28-year drought without a win in the knockout stage.

Although Belgium dominated possession and took a 2-0 lead in extra time, the Americans clawed one back and nearly equalised in the final minutes.

Wilmots said the U.S. match was nerve-wracking, but he is already looking ahead to Belgium's next test.

"We've seen a very conquering Belgium team," he said. "[U.S. goalkeeper Tim] Howard had a fantastic match. We deserve our win and I'm already focusing on the quarterfinals against Argentina.

"We need to forget about this match. Four days is very short to prepare for the Argentina game. I said I would create a team that would play football and we've done it.

"We were able to turn the situation in our favor because of our strength. They played bravely, but they were burned out. It was a lot of fun. But for my heart, please don't do that to me again."

Belgium forced Howard to make 12 saves in the opening 90 minutes, something that Wilmots and U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann even laughed about on the sidelines.

"It's kind of comical. We chatted like people in the stands," Wilmots said. "Football is something we are passionate about. He's not somebody I will fight with. We were laughing at the amount of chances Belgium could have scored."

Vincent Kompany recovered from a groin injury in time to face the U.S., and Wilmots said Thomas Vermaelen and Steven Defour should both be fit to face Argentina as well.

"We will have Vermaelen and Defour back," Wilmots said. "Everybody has gone past their limit. It happens in the last 16. I'm sure they wont be tired again. They will be ready for Argentina."

Wilmots acknowledged that the Albiceleste will be favoured, but said his squad have enough to reach the semifinals.

"There s a lack of balance in that team," Wilmots said of Argentina. "For once, we're not favourites, but we want to win. That's all the matters.

"We're going to make sure that we play well against a strong team, but everybody is a strong team at this level and every detail will make a difference.

"They play with five defenders, so we will have to be creative. I have everything in my head already, don't worry.

"We will deal with this Argentina as a team. Today, we're talking about recovery and I will deal with that in a few days."

Belgium failed to qualify for the previous two World Cups, and Wilmots said "this generation is writing its own page in the book of football for Belgium.

"It's the second time we're in to the quarterfinals and it shows our potential. I placed the bar high for my players. I would rather raise the bar than be comfortable. We are moving forward and we will do our best.

"I've also told the players that we have two flights.: One is leaving tomorrow and the other is leaving for Brasilia. The choice is up to you. And they made the choice today. They want to go to Brasilia."

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