MOSCOW (Reuters) - Belgium are a better team than England and to finish third at the World Cup is a minimum for their squad, full back Thomas Meunier said on Thursday.
The two countries meet in the third place playoff in St Petersburg on Saturday and the defender is expected to be back in the line-up after missing the 1-0 semi-final defeat by France on Tuesday because of suspension.
“We are better than England. Winning the match is not an obligation but something we want to do. Third place is a minimum for us,” he told a news conference at the team’s training base in Moscow.
“We beat England in the group phase and so we can do it again.”
Both countries rested regulars for the Group G match in Kaliningrad on June 28 which Belgium won 1-0. The two teams had already secured qualification for the round of 16 before that encounter.
“We want third place for ourselves on a personal level, for those whose supported us over the last years and for all the work we did in qualifiers. We have a fantastic squad and to finish on the podium would be something.”
Meunier admitted Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ of players had likely lost their last chance at World Cup glory after their 1-0 loss in the last four.
“This group could still do something in two years,” he said in a reference to the 2020 European Championship, “but in four years’ time, many will have left.”
“But there are a lot of exciting youngsters coming through who might continue our expedition,” the Paris St Germain player added.
Editing by Christian Radnedge