Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Alamy Stock Photo Head coach of Belgium Roberto Martinez speaks during the Belgium Press Conference.
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'Some outlets in Belgium are quite happy to jump on fake news' - Martinez
The coach has denied reports of a bust-up in his team’s changing room.

BELGIUM BOSS Roberto Martinez insists reports of a squad bust-up following the defeat to Morocco are “fake news” as his side prepare for their final World Cup group game against Croatia.

The Red Devils have endured a difficult start to the tournament, with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Canada followed by a 2-0 humbling at the hands of Morocco four days later.

Belgium, ranked second in Fifa’s rankings, sit third in Group F and will have to overcome group leaders Croatia in their last match if they are to advance to the last 16.

Martinez claimed members of his squad were not happy with their performances but wants people to get behind “the best generation” of players to pull on a Belgium shirt rather than find negative news.

He told a press conference: “Some outlets in Belgium are quite happy to jump on fake news.

“The standards come from within, we had a camp who were not happy with our performances over the two games.

“There is more desire to find negative news around this team rather than get this nation together, support this team and enjoy the talent of the best generation that we have ever had in Belgian football.”

Croatia have picked up four points from their two matches and Martinez knows the size of the task if Belgium want to progress.

“We are facing one of the best nations in the tournament, we know that,” he continued. “They finished second in 2018 and we know the quality they have.

“They have a togetherness, a competitive edge, they have synergy with the coach who has been there for a very long time, so this will be a challenge.

“The second game is the first time we lost a game by two goals in a major tournament, so we have not experienced that before and you can imagine we were not happy with it.”

Meanwhile, Zlatko Dalic is preparing to face “the best” Belgium line-up and is aware of the dangers they could pose, despite the negativity surrounding the side.

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The 2018 runners-up are aiming to qualify for the knockout stages for a second consecutive finals and

A draw will be good enough for the 2018 runners-up to qualify, and Dalic said: “This is a decisive match for us to make it into the knockout stage.

“This is one of the best football teams in the world. This is a great team and if we had to choose, we could not have selected this one to be the decisive one.

“We have a difficult opponent and will not fool ourselves by their underperformance in the last two games and for Belgium it is a crucial match as well.

“We shall not be fooled by media stories and rumours, we are expecting the best from Belgium who are a top-notch national team with phenomenal players.”

For the latest news coverage on the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022, see here >

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