World Cup semi-finalist Vincent Kompany shares a few words of wisdom with Wales defender Connor Roberts and Morocco winger Anass Zaroury

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has encouraged his World Cup stars to relax and take a breath as they embark on the opportunity of a lifetime.

The Manchester City legend achieved a third place finish in the tournament four years ago when Belgium beat England 2-0 in Saint Petersburg.

The Red Devils overturned a two-goal deficit to beat Japan in the round of 16 before goals from Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne saw off Brazil in a quarter-final tie in Kazan.

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It hadn't all been plain-sailing for Roberto Martinez's side, however. Their first 45 minutes of the competition in Russia was a far cry from the moments that followed when earning a semi-final clash with eventual winners France.

Belgium's defender Vincent Kompany (2ndR) and teammates celebrate their victory at the end of their Russia 2018 World Cup play-off for third place football match between Belgium and England at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 14, 2018.

Speaking about the goal-less first half of their Group G game against Panama at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Kompany said: "It's the thing of a lifetime. It is hard to comprehend.

"I spoke about this with Connor [Roberts], my first World Cup, with all the experience we had in the team with 26-27 year old title-winning players, the first 45 minutes it was like we had chewing gum on our shoes.

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"Nothing was working, we couldn't play simple passes, we couldn't catch our breath. The magnitude of this event is something you cannot under-estimate. He will be one of the very few people who can create memories for a nation. I hope for him that he is able to do it."

Roberts made history with Wales when the Dragons qualified for their first finals in 64 years and he is likely to be involved for tonight's opener against USA in Group B.

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England's forward Harry Kane (R) looks on past Belgium's defender Vincent Kompany during their Russia 2018 World Cup play-off for third place football match between Belgium and England at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 14, 2018.

Anass Zaroury, who represented Belgium at Under 21 level, could also land his inaugural World Cup cap having switched allegiances to travel to Qatar with Morocco. They kick their Group F campaign off against Croatia on Wednesday.

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Sharing his advice for the pair, the 36-year-old Championship Manager of the Month for October said: "Don't over-think it. I think the team who is the most relaxed gets better performances, disciplined, calm, don't over do it.

"The level of the games is not necessarily higher than what you are used to but the occasion creates something completely crazy. In order to perform you have to trust yourself to be well prepared and do what you have done all the time."

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He added: "You always go in two minds. First thing you want to get the call up and then second thing is, when you're there, you start realising it's a knife with two edges.

"If you do well you get all of the hype, but if you don't, careers have been broken after this. If you get rid of the negativity and focus on the opportunity, that's the best way to live in these tournaments. Then it's a real pleasure."