Here’s what some of the victorious Rode Duivels / Diables Rouges had to say in the aftermath of Belgium’s 0-2 win in Skopje while speaking to VRT, RTBF and in the post-game press conference:
“We knew that it would be difficult with a Macedonian team who weren’t going to take the game to us (literally had a wait-and-see attitude) and were quick on the counter. The players didn’t always do what I had asked of them, especially our fullbacks who played too high up the pitch.
“I was angry at the break. What I said in the dressing room stays is there but we had a bit of luck and a good Thibaut Courtois between the sticks. We lost the ball carelessly on six or seven occasions and that could have cost us dear. The second half was clearly better and we could have won by a greater margin.”
“We must be pleased: we have taken 13 points from 15 with 9 from 9 away from home without conceding a single goal. The team has shown itself to be mentally strong to get this result. I am already focused on Tuesday’s game. If we manage to take the three points, it will be a further step forward towards taking one of the top two spots in Group A.”
“I tried to do my work in attack and also do my bit in defence. The coach exacts that. Before the break, Courtois kept us on level terms several times. It’s always tough away from home against these kinds of teams. After my goal we were able to play more calmly.
“In the first half we gave too many chances away. It was our own fault. We have to look at that. We have to be more focused on Tuesday and we must win. The pitch will be better and we’ll definitely be able to play better. Here it was a case of get the points and get out.
“I think it was a similar sort of match to the Serbia game. We didn’t start well and they had some chances. Afterwards, we scored the first goal but it was a difficult game. Wilmots told us at half-time to play more compact because they had a lot of space on the counter attack. In the second half we played better and were more organised. They still had chances but they weren’t as good as in the first half.”
Kevin De Bruyne
“Yes, it was very difficult today. We had problems spreading the ball about. For me, the pitch was very bad. I had problems with the ball because it kept going in the air. We won, we took three points.
(For the goal), “I challenged for the ball, I took the ball and then I looked up. There was nothing in front of goal and I decided to go for the near post because the goalkeeper always goes to the far post, expecting the pass. I think I struck it well. I waited until the last moment because then he has to choose. The goal came at the right moment. It wasn’t good today but we took the three points, that’s the most important.”
I think in the second half we did what we hadn’t been doing in the first. We kept the ball better in their half from the times we won it back and it allowed us more breathing space. The important thing was to keep the ball and then pick the right moment to do something with it. We did that well and we won 2-0, it was very important to win today. I haven’t played too often (as a holding midfielder) for the national team but I feel good there. I try to give my all in every game and be at my best.
Daniel van Buyten
It’s you (the media) who go on (about me) but it’s like I said, first and foremost you have to be professional and prepare yourself for each game. It’s the best way to do things, to be ready. Anyone can come on at any moment. I am happy today, we were able to win because Croatia also got a good result.
We had problems building (from the back). The quality of the pitch didn’t help us. Then we played a bit differently and that went well. We were able to score when we needed to. We could have scored others. We knew it would be a difficult game here. The main thing is we won.
It’s a good omen (for the World Cup) but we’re still a long way from that. We have a lot of work to do. There were some things today, which weren’t very good, some which were positive and we will discuss them together and try to do better next time.