When Japan left the World Cup they left a thank you note, in Russian I believe, for their hosts which received worldwide acclaim.
If Belgium end up lifting the World Cup trophy next week, then they should be sending their own thank you note to Japan.
In their last 16 match, the Japanese raced into a two goal lead which came from them taking advantage of Belgium’s lopsided system.
Martinez has insisted on playing a 3-4-3 formation with a right back on the right of a midfield four and an attacking winger on the left.
In theory, some people would say this gives you the best of both worlds. However, in reality it can also give you neither.
The Japanese took advantage of what seemed a blatant weakness in the Belgium fortress, in behind the fake wing backs.
Vast gaps were there for all to see and Japan took advantage like the rebel alliance blasting a couple of shots down a massive hole in the Death Star.
A clear weakness overlooked that would inevitably be there downfall to the right opponent. Luckily for Belgium, it was ‘only Japan’.
If that match played out like most anticipated and the Belgian red devils ran out 2-0 comfortable winners, then Martinez would very likely have stuck to his guns going into the Brazil game. As why would he change?
The 3-4-3 would no doubt have been absolutely demolished by the likes of Neymar and Willian, which would have made this quarter final a very different affair.
Not only would they have been weak without the ball but playing De Bruyne in a midfield two against the Brazilian three, would have also seen him stifled.
As it turns out, Martinez learned his lesson from Japan after a miracle comeback and plugged the gaps and free his biggest weapon.
Belgium were the clear better team last night and Martinez is being lauded a tactical master. Yet this Jedi may need to remember what has lead him to this moment.
When you consider how well they played in a 4-3-3 with his big hitters in better positions to play, you should be asking why he has insisted with the doomed 3-4-3 for his entire reign as Belgium boss.
Yet nobody will if they lift that trophy. It will all be forgotten. But I would be keen to stress to Martinez if I ever met him to insist he remembers the Japanese.
If it weren’t for them, Belgium could well be going home right now. I suggest Mr Martinez should be sending a thank you note of his own to Japan, perhaps in Russian would be apt.