Belgium captain Vincent Kompany spoke of his pride after his side’s 3-1 Euro 2016 qualification victory over Israel ensured they will move above Argentina and Germany in the FIFA rankings.
The victory was secured by second-half goals from Dries Mertens, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard and also sealed top spot above Wales in Group B.
A successful qualifying campaign and Belgium’s rise to the top of the rankings have sparked optimism ahead of next year’s tournament in France and Kompany attempted to strike the balance between delight and caution.
The Manchester City defender told Sporza: “We remain realistic, but also a bit chauvinistic. We are the number one in the world and the Netherlands are out. And to think that I have seen times when we were 80th.
“Seriously, though, that is football. Sometimes you have a dip, but talent will always prevail. It has worked out well here in Belgium and we are ready for what is to come.”
The 29-year-old was impressed by Belgium’s performance against Israel, particularly after they overcame a slow start to the second half before scoring three times in a 20-minute spell to seal the win.
“It was the best first half of our campaign, we just did not score,” Kompany said.
“In the second half we just had a dip, but we still scored suddenly three times. This team has always shown that we can get difficult beyond difficult moments.
“That has been the story of the last four years and we should be proud.”
Kompany, who has just returned from a calf injury, played for just under an hour against Israel.