Belgium coach Roberto Martinez confirms Axel Witsel’s presence in the list of 26

Roberto Martinez (Belgium coach, victorious Croatia, 1-0, Sunday): “Tonight, we performed well in a competitive game. It was different in terms of focus, communication. The first fifteen minutes were very intense and we remained solid, attentive. Thibaut Courtois made an important save late in the game.

We put the necessary intensity. We looked like a team. Against Greece (1-1, Thursday), it lasted forty minutes. The rest of the time, we were softer. So this is a good sign. We were able to control this Croatian team by defending closer to our goal. It was not easy and even very demanding on the collective level. We could even have scored more than one goal with the opportunities we created for ourselves. Youri Tielemans was able to set the right tempo, to organize the game intelligently. There was a battle in the middle and he rose to the level of Kovacic or Modric. At 24, he is a top level player and excellent for us.

Unfortunately, Leandro Trossard was forfeited. He was not feeling muscular (thigh). We didn’t take any risks. We will test it tomorrow (Monday). This is the day Kevin De Bruyne joins us. He will start a recovery program quietly. We are keeping 29 players until June 11. Dedrick Boyata, who could not do the entire session on Saturday, still has to perfect his condition. But nothing serious. We are going to ramp up with this group. Eden Hazard is still missing playing time, a full match.

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Axel Witsel was impressive. He will be an important player for us and will stay in the 26 (he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in January and has not replayed in competition). We still lack a bit of synchronization but the team is ready for the Euro. Since August, Romelu Lukaku has shown real maturity. He is in the best moment of his career. He has always been an exceptional goalscorer. But he has become a leader in the field. “

Youri Tielemans (middle of Belgium):“This is the match we really needed before the start of the Euro. Against Greece (1-1, Thursday), we were in trouble. Tonight, we must have suffered. This forced us to talk to each other, to find solutions on the ground. So it was a good test and better for my taste. It’s a performance that can give us confidence before the start of the European Championship. “

Zlatko Dalic (Croatia coach): “It was a good test for both teams in view of the next Euro. I congratulate Belgium on its success. For our part, we played a good game. We are satisfied even if we have to be more creative against such a strong team. “


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