DOHA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — The head coach of Belgium’s football team has declared high-risk tactics are responsible for a string of upsets at the Qatar World Cup.
Roberto Martinez on Saturday told Xinhua in a pre-match press conference in Doha that he believes more teams are pushing for wins in Qatar rather than settling for draws, leading to shock results.
Saudi Arabia caused one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history by beating tournament favorites Argentina 2-1 followed by Japan beating Germany.
Martinez’s Belgium side escaped the first round of fixtures with a 1-0 win over Canada despite registering 12 fewer attempts at goal than their opponents.
“Teams want to win games. They’re prepared to take risks, and that’s why we’ve seen surprising results,” he told Xinhua.
“You see more and more teams want to be technically playing from the back. Teams want to press high. The pitch is bigger than it was in 2018, and from that position you see a completely different game and the counter attack transition becomes more important than it was before.”
The 49-year-old Martinez is the most successful national coach in Belgian history, having won about 70 percent of his more than 70 games in charge, which included a run to the semifinals at the 2018 World Cup.
In addition to tactical variance, he identified the format of the World Cup as a major factor in the surprise results.
The 2022 World Cup is the first ever to be held in December, with players coming straight from their club teams rather than spending extended periods in national team training camps.
“So rather than having that preparation for a World Cup where you’ve got three friendlies and then you’ve got four weeks to get every player in optimal condition, the teams need to get ready while they’re in the tournament. And that’s dangerous because it can cost you points,” Martinez said.