Fifa World Cup 2014

Belgian hunger grows after hard-fought win

The 22-year-old, who was named man of the match in their victory over Algeria, has faith his teammates are ready to conquer Russia

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 9:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 9:33pm

After a 12-year absence from the World Cup, success-starved Belgium are preparing to feast on their opponents, says midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

The 22-year-old was named man of the match on Tuesday after helping Belgium come from a goal down to score a precious 2-1 group H victory over Algeria.

De Bruyne, rescued from a miserable spell at Chelsea when he signed for VfL Wolfsburg in January, produced a dynamic second half display as "Les Diables Rouges" recovered from the shock of conceding a 25th-minute penalty by Sofiane Feghouli.

If we take three points against Russia then we will see after that. But we are hungry. I would even say we are famished
Kevin De Bruyne

"We have a lot of expectations, as do the supporters," he said. "But every match is tough.

"We will take them one at a time. If we take three points against Russia then we will see after that. But we are hungry. I would even say we are famished," he added.

Belgian manager Marc Wilmots, who caused some consternation with his line-up and tactics, said his side needed to adapt to their newfound status of being considered outsiders for the title.

"Our opponents are scared of us and therefore they realign their tactics when they play us," said the 45-year-old, who has yet to lose a competitive match since he took over at the helm in 2012.

"We are maybe the fastest team in the world on the counter-attack - as was clear in the lead-up to our second goal - therefore our adversaries play very deep in order to try and deny us space.

"Russia [who the Belgians play on Sunday] will probably also defend really deep."

Wilmots' substitutions in the second half changed the game, with two of the replacements - Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens - scoring.

Wilmots was also delighted by the fortitude shown by his side.

"The resilience and the mental strength they showed will stand them in good stead for the future," said the coach, who revealed he had written on the board in the dressing room prior to the match that the substitutes would make the difference.

Fellaini, who had a disappointing debut season with Manchester United, said talk of Belgium being among the favourites should be disregarded.

"It's Brazil who are playing at home," he said. "The pressure is not on us."