Belfast Telegraph

Martinez sounds Japan warning against Belgian complacency

By Mark White

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez says he is wary of a Japan team with "incredible energy" ahead of today's World Cup last-16 clash.

The Belgians go in as firm favourites, with a 100 per cent record from the group phase and netting nine goals in beating Panama, Tunisia and England.

With players like Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, Martinez's team have more than enough quality to secure a place in the quarter-finals, where Brazil could await. Most pundits are predicting a Belgium win, but Martinez has short shrift for such a theory. "They are footballers with an incredible energy and a great capacity to get really high up the pitch very quickly," he said.

"This Japan team shows a lot of good experience, a lot of players who have played in big leagues in Europe for a long time. They know what it takes to win a game of this calibre."

"This is a group of players that know what they are doing. I expect a very difficult game.

Belgium vs Japan

World Cup Round of 16:

Rostov Arena, Today, 7.00 pm

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