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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK

Media get back on side

By John Chapman
in Brussels

After all the bad press of recent weeks, the Belgian newspapers on Saturday will have made pleasant reading for national team coach Robert Waseige.

La Derniere Heure called it a "Victory for Waseige", adding that the team "had found their pride and their natural game".

" Without taking responsibility for the victory, we are glad that we provoked the players into action "
Editor Luc Soens
Het Nieuwsblad

It continued: "Whatever happens on Monday against Brazil, for the Belgians the World Cup is a success, and also for Robert Waseige. Waseige fulfilled his mission,"

Le Soir agreed. "Mission accomplished for Waseige," its headline ran.

Even the team and coach's greatest critic, Het Nieuwsblad, was happy. "Devils are alive and kicking and ready for Brazil," it said.

Writing in Le Soir, Het Nieuwsblad editor Luc Soens sought to defend their recent criticism of waseige.

"We feel good about this," he said. "Our intention was simply to inform our readers about the problems at the heart of the team, rather than to make ourselves popular.

"Without taking responsibility for the victory, we are glad that we provoked the players into action."

More than a thousand people were celebrating in the medieval Grand Place in Brussels on Friday afternoon.

Unlike during Euro 2000, the square will be open to the public on Monday and giant screens will be erected for the second-round match with Brazil.

In a country with two official languages, the commentary is expected to be 45 minutes in French and 45 minutes in Dutch.

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