Belgium paid the price for failing to take their chances in opposition to France however will now need to shake off their disappointment and concentrate on ending third on the World Cup, coach Roberto Martinez stated after his staff’s defeat in the semifinal.
Samuel Umtiti headed in from a nook for the one objective of the sport to knock Belgium out, and Martinez stated that whereas he was happy his staff negated France’s menace on the counter-attack, his gamers didn’t present their common finesse in entrance of objective.
“It was a good recreation,” the Spaniard advised reporters. “There weren’t many huge moments… The distinction between defeat and profitable was only one dead-ball state of affairs.
“We managed their counter-attacks. We had the ball however have to offer credit score to the way in which France defended, and we could not discover that little little bit of magic in entrance of objective.”
The match was a captivating tactical battle, with France content material to give up possession and searching to make use of Kylian Mbappe’s tempo to harm Belgium on the counter-attack.
Martinez stated his staff had executed effectively to nullify the French menace from open play and denied that his choice to start out Mousa Dembele in midfield had a serious impact on the result.
Dembele was a shock choice in place of vast man Yannick Carrasco, with Martinez opting to start out playmaker Kevin De Bruyne on the correct facet of assault as an alternative of the center of the park.
However De Bruyne’s greatest moments got here when he mixed with Eden Hazard on the other facet of the pitch to the one he was stationed on, and Belgium missed his skill to choose a move, with striker Romelu Lukaku largely disadvantaged of service.
After his staff fell behind, Martinez took off Dembele and pulled De Bruyne again into central midfield, and although Belgium didn’t get a objective, they managed the play higher and created extra chances.
“I did not see France operating away with the sport,” Martinez added. “It got here all the way down to a nook kick. That is why I do not assume the efficiency got here all the way down to people.”
From dreaming of a primary World Cup remaining, Belgium will now need to be content material with a playoff for third place, however Martinez stated he was pleased with his gamers and would do all he may to get them prepared for their remaining match of the event.
“The frustration is large… It is a very unhappy dressing room proper now,” he stated. “I do not need any of my gamers to be annoyed and disillusioned.
“It is a tough emotion to handle. You are disillusioned since you lose the semi-final, and it’s extremely tough to see the chance of enjoying one other recreation as a constructive.
“We have to regroup and get well and see the chance. To attempt to end third in the World Cup would not occur usually. The one time it occurred in Belgian soccer was in 1986, after we completed fourth.
“We have to perceive it is an necessary recreation, however I settle for it’s extremely tough after a recreation with the feelings we had at this time. Whenever you had the ambition of attending to the ultimate, it is powerful individually and collectively to organize for the following recreation.”