Belgium captain Vincent Kompany has admitted that his side expected to make the World Cup final, following Saturday’s quarter-final elimination at the hands of Argentina.
Playing in their first major international tournament since 2002, Belgium’s so-called 'Golden Generation' were considered by many to be this summer’s dark horses, but their performances during their run to the final eight flattered to deceive most.
Nevertheless, Kompany believes that the young team earned valuable experience over the past few weeks, which will serve them extremely well going forward under his veteran leadership.
‘None of us talked about this Argentina game as a benchmark. We all thought we’d win the game and get to the final,’ he said.
‘Obviously we’re left with some disappointment but, at the same time, it’s a young group and going back four or five years we would have never dreamed about getting so far.
‘I just have to say then congratulations to the whole team. We still have some margins to improve and we’ll be a tough side to play against in a few years’ time.’
With Kompany’s attention now turning to the 2014-15 season with Manchester City and the quest to win back-to-back Premier League titles, the 28-year-old says that he will take a quick break before getting back into training, after a hectic year of football.
‘I crave winning matches and trophies, and I obviously play in a club where every year it’s a possibility,’ he stated.
‘But I started training a little bit earlier last season – maybe on 28 June – because I wanted to be fit for this tournament, so I’ve been playing football for over a year. I think it’s therefore a necessity to have a couple of weeks off.’