Belgium try to lift themselves after semi-final loss as they train for World Cup third-place play-off with England
- Roberto Martinez was tasked with lifting his side after World Cup semi-final loss
- Belgium will face England on Saturday in Russia for the third-place play-off
- Finishing in third would be Belgium’s best ever result at a World Cup finals
- There’s also reason for Romelu Lukaku to fight on as he chases Golden Boot
They will face England in a third-place play-off on Saturday, as the two losers of the semi-finals go head-to-head to decide who picks up the bronze medal position.
Roberto Martinez has had to lift his side after they were knocked out and has been putting his side through their paces once again as they bid to round off what has been a respectable campaign.
Dries Mertens practices his skills ahead of Belgium’s third-place play-off against England
Thibaut Courtois will likely face up against Jordan Pickford again after criticising his height
Thorgan Hazard (C) could get a start for Belgium if Roberto Martinez rotates squad again
Belgium would have felt they had the ability to win the tournament and up until the France game, had won all five matches they played in, including a 2-1 win over Brazil.
But it wasn’t meant to be as they failed to find the net against France and ultimately felt short of their target to win the tournament – given the golden generation of players they currently have.
There is still reason to win the third-place play-off though, not least to prove that they can beat England once again.
Romelu Lukaku (R) will be hoping he can bag a couple of goals and take the Golden Boot
Roberto Martinez (L) and Thierry Henry (R) discuss tactics ahead of third-place match
Thomas Vermaelen works out with Belgium team-mates as they try and pick themselves up
Finishing third would also be the Belgians best ever result at a World Cup. Their previous best was a fourth place finish in 1986.
For Romelu Lukaku, the game also presents itself as an opportunity to try and take the Golden Boot home.
Currently Lukaku is on four goals, two behind current leader and favourite, Harry Kane, who he will likely face on Saturday.
There is also the feint possibility that Kylian Mbappe or Antoine Griezmann could score three or more goals to steal the prize, but Lukaku will certainly be looking to add to his trophy cabinet with or without the main prize.
Michy Batshuayi (L) and Derdryck Boyata (C) trained with the Belgian squad on Thursday
Martinez grimaces as his side are forced to pick themselves up after semi-final defeat
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.