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Martinez looking for late birthday gift
with third place World Cup finish

ST PETERSBURG Russia (Xinhua) -- Belgium coach Roberto Martinez celebrates his 45th birthday on Friday, but his best possible present would be to see his team defeat England in the play-off for third and fourth place in the World Cup on Saturday.

Speaking to the press on Friday, Martinez said the English, who face Belgium after losing 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinal on Wednesday were "a dynamic side, who have scored 9 goals from set pieces and we will have to concentrate against their 5-3-2 system."

The two teams met in the group stages with Belgium winning a game between two much-changed sides 2-1 and Martinez commented there "would be no surprises" on Saturday, although both coaches will probably make changes to their regular starting 11s.

After spending much of his playing career and all of his coaching career before joining Belgium in England, Martinez said he saw a positive change in the English game during the World Cup.

"They have very positive feelings in this World Cup, we have seen the mentality of English football changing," he said, highlighting the success of England’s Under 17, 20 and 21 sides as good news for the future.

He also praised Eden Hazard, who is being linked with a possible move to Real Madrid, saying he was "one of the most complete players in the modern game," before adding that the perfect birthday present would be "winning tomorrow: all Belgian supporters deserve the feeling of winning the last game," said Martinez.

 

             

 

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