Paul Giblin SAMARA Russia (Xinhua) --
Friday’s World Cup quarter-finals threw up some
interesting statistics and mean that Belgium boss, Roberto
Martinez has the chance to make history at the 2018 World Cup
2-1 win over Russia in Kazan makes the Spaniard the coach from a
different country to lead a team to the last four of the World
Cup since the Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari guided Portugal to
the semi-finals in 2006.
No ‘foreign’ coach
has so far led a country to the title, so Martinez is just two
matches away from making more history, given that Friday’s
victory means that Belgium have won 5 consecutive matches in the
World Cup finals for the first time ever and reached the
semi-finals for the first time since 1986, where they were
beaten by Argentina.
The Belgians are
sharing the goals amongst them: Kevin de Bruyne’s first half
strike means that nine Belgian players have now scored in
Russia, with the team chalking up a total of 14 goals so far in
The record for the
number of different players hitting the target for one country
in a World Cup is 10 and held by France in 1982 and Italy in
cannot set a new record of matches played in the Wold Cup
finals: Friday saw them tie with Germany’s record of 109 matches
in the final stages, but they (and the Germans) will have to
wait until 2022 before match 110.
France’s win over
Uruguay means they reach the semi-finals for the sixth time,
with five of those appearances in Europe (Sweden 1958, Spain
1982, France 1998, Germany 2006 and now Russia,) the only time
they reached the last four on a different continent was in
That doesn’t mean
they have a poor record against South American sides however, as
Friday’s win against Uruguay means the French have not lost (6
wins and 4 draws) in their last 10 games against South American
opposition; a run going back to Argentina 1978.
Finally Belgium and
France’s triumphs ensures an all-European semi-final for the
fifth time in the World Cup (Italy 1934, England 1966, Spain
1982 and German 2006), with all of those tournaments also
celebrated in Europe.