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Belgium Criticizes France After 2018 World Cup Semifinals Loss

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jul 13, 2018 07:47 AM EDT
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Belgium slammed France for playing a boring and negative "anti-football" game in their 2018 World Cup semifinal clash on Tuesday.

France advanced to the finals following a 1-0 win over Belgium, thanks to a header by defender Samuel Umtiti in the second half. While France basks in the glory of its win, Belgium is still fuming with the loss.

"(France is) just an anti-football team," Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois tells reporters after their loss. "I would have preferred to have lost in the quarterfinals to Brazil, at least that was a team that wanted to play football."

France Did Nothing More Than Just Defend

According to Courtois, the French did nothing more than defend after Umtiti's goal put them on the board. While Belgium tried to score an equalizer, France stepped up its defense to ensure the victory that gave them a third World Cup final stint since 1998.

While Courtois said its France's right to play that way, the goalkeeper said it's not a nice thing to see. Courtois particularly criticized the positioning of his Chelsea teammate Olivier Giroud, who was 30 meters from his own goal.

Belgium, for its part, became frustrated with France's tough defense as it failed to tally a much-needed goal in the dying minutes of the contest.

"I prefer to lose with this Belgium than to win with this France," captain Eden Hazard says. "But they do defend strongly and are very efficient."

Belgium will play England for third place on Thursday in St. Petersburg. France, for its part, will face Croatia for the World Cup crown on Sunday at Luzhniki Stadium.

Les Bleus will be going for their second World Cup title. They first won the title in 1998 via a 3-0 win over Brazil. France made it to the World Cup finals in 2006 but lost to Italy in their home field.

France Held Kevin De Bruyne In Check

After an outstanding game against Brazil, Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was held in check by France's tight defense. De Bruyne failed to connect with Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. After the game, De Bruyne said France had been defensive during the game but lauded them for a job well done.

De Bruyne also denied that he was annoyed by France's tight defense, saying he is accustomed to playing against defensive-minded teams in the Premier League.

"No, I play at City. I play against teams that play so defensively 90 percent of the time. That is football. What they do, they do well. Both teams have had opportunities. That one goal makes the difference," said De Bruyne.

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