Wilmots issues rallying cry

16 June 2014 06:02

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has urged his side to write a new chapter in their nation's football history as they prepare to kick off their World Cup campaign against Algeria in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

The Group H clash represents Belgium's first World Cup finals appearance since 2002 and their exciting crop of players has led to some suggestions they could repeat their heroics of 1986 when they reached the semi-finals.

Wilmots said: "The results of 1986 were very nice but now it is up to us to put aside the history books and write our own.

"This is our first game in a World Cup for 12 years. We see this as a challenge and my players are very hungry."

Romelu Lukaku is expected to recover from an ankle injury sustained in the final warm-up game against Tunisia, with Wilmots vowing to stay true to the attacking style which saw them breeze unbeaten through qualifying with eight wins in 10 games.

Wilmots added: "I'm going to stay true to our philosophy and play football.

"We have done it in qualifying and I am not going to change it because we are at the World Cup. Nobody expected us to get to this point so quickly and we have kept things in perspective. The main thing is at the end of the World Cup we have no regrets."

Despite scraping through to the finals after an away-goals win over Burkina Faso, Algeria arrived at the tournament in a good vein of form having won three consecutive warm-up games against European opposition.

Their Bosnian coach Vahid Halihodzic insists his side are determined to make their mark on the competition having battled to reach their second consecutive finals.

Halihodzic said: "We have been waiting for this moment for three years.

"We are in Brazil and I believe we are ready to compete. We are here to try to pass the first round.

"Belgium are not necessarily stronger than us. Anything can happen in a game and if we do surprise them, it will be a great performance."

Source: PA