World Cup: Belgium boss Marc Wilmots says team talk was key to win over Algeria
Last Updated: 18/06/14 4:41pm
Belgium manager Marc Wilmots admits he had to give a rallying team talk to lift the spirits of his young side during half time in their World Cup opener against Algeria on Tuesday.
The Belgians trailed 1-0 at the interval after Sofiane Feghouli converted a penalty, but they hit back with substitute Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens scoring in the second half in Belo Horizonte.
Wilmots says his team were devastated to go in one down and praised the instant impact Feilaini and Mertens had on proceedings as Belgium went top of World Cup Group H.
“The players seemed like beaten men in the dressing room," he said. "But I told them I was sure that we would score eventually. The substitutions I made injected a bit of pace, which changed the game after the break.”
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne felt patience was the key to beating a resilient Algerian side who kept Belgium out for 70 minutes on Tuesday night.
"The first half was very difficult because Algeria played well," De Bruyne said. "We had more spaces in the second half and we worked better to take the win.
"We were patient, which is something important in these types of games.Once we got the draw, I knew that we would be able to score again and win the game."
Belgium have been talked up as dark horses as this year’s World Cyup but De Bruyne insists the players are refusing to get ahead of themselves.
"There is a lot of expectation on us but we prefer to take it one game at a time," the 22-year-old admitted.
“Now we will prepare in the best possible way for our next rival which is Russia. Then we will take on South Korea before we focus on the next round."
Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic was disappointed with his team's loss but proud of their effort.
"I told my players that they should not be ashamed of the result," he said. "We came close to achieving something great.
"We weren't far away from pulling off an upset. We are disappointed but we cannot cry, We have to be ready for our next game, which will be a stern test."