ST PETERSBURG – France coach Didier Deschamps is confident he has prepared his players for any tactical surprises as he expects his opposite coach Roberto Martinez of Belgium to do just that, when they face off in the first World Cup semi-finals in St Petersburg on Tuesday night.
Currently Belgium are the tournament’s top scorers, and Martinez surprised many when he changed his tactics against Brazil.
He moved forward Romelu Lukaku to the wing and creative kingpin Kevin de Bryun as a “false number nine.”
Deschamps said, “Belgium didn’t arrive here by chance. They played a great game against Brazil with a specific game plan,” the 49-year-old Deschamps told a news conference on Monday. “Will they do something similar for us? Probably.”
“Their team is geared forward. They keep that particular quality, but against Brazil, Martinez intensified the midfield… and the Brazilians couldn’t use those corridors.
“They attack very fast. So I’ve made sure that my players are prepared for any scenarios from the beginning of the match and during the match as well if it changes.”
He added that Martinez benefited from his predecessor’s work Marc Wilmots, “I don’t want to offend Martinez but he, of course, benefited from Wilmots’ work, despite the fact that Wales eliminate the team,” Deschamps said.
“He changed things a bit, put his own stamp on the team, but he had great potential with this group of players. I don’t know if he’s going to do it, but I congratulate him on being in a semi-final even though he’s going to face us.”
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