The Unknown Story behind Belgium’s Third Place at the World Cup


A historic third-place finish for Belgium at the World Cup in Russia in the summer was forged largely off the back of a quarter-final win over Brazil and a goal that came from strange circumstances.The first goal from the Red Devils in their 2-1 win over Brazil came about as a result of a fortuitous event, Vincent Kompany revealed. “The story of that goal is interesting,” the man behind it told Belgian public broadcaster RTBF. “The day before the game, at the hotel, I couldn’t sleep so I took a pill but I forgot to put the alarm clock on. “In the morning, during the first meeting, I wasn’t even there because I was still asleep!” Coach Roberto Martinez was discussing set-piece plans with his players and the Manchester City man had to apologise and ask assistant coach Thierry Henry to summarise what had been discussed. “Between the two of us, we completely changed the plans that were in place,” he revealed.
“I told him that Brazil defended exactly like Manchester City and I had seen their coach with Pep Guardiola at our training complex in Manchester.
“They copy exactly what we do at City, so I know the weakness of the system,” Kompany said. In the 13th minute, a corner kick from Nacer Chadli was met by Kompany at the near post to put his side in front. “If you look at the images, I make a run that cuts between the two lines and nobody from the first line, where they are dedicated to clearing the ball, saw me arrive,” continued the Belgian.
Kompany, who thought he had scored until he discovered that the goal went down as an own goal for club teammate Fernandinho, attributed his run between the lines and the change in attacking set-piece plans to the talk he had with Henry as a result of the sleeping pill he had the night before the game. “It is crazy,” the defender said of a tournament in which Belgium faced Brazil, France and England twice en route to a third-place finish.

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