SAINT PETERSBURG – Belgium coach Roberto Martinez bemoaned the goal his team conceded from a corner to lose a tight World Cup semi-final to France in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
French centre-back Samuel Umtiti nodded home at the near post six minutes into the second half to give his side a 1-0 win and a place in their third World Cup final, where they will play England or Croatia.
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“The difference sadly is a set play in a very close and tight game,” said Spaniard Martinez.
“I couldn’t ask more of the players’ attitude. If you are going to have to lose such a match, which is bearable, it is the manner in which our players lost, pushing for everything, trying everything till the final whistle.
“We have to get rid of this feeling and finish on a high as that is nothing more than the players deserve, not to leave with a sour taste. Disappointed, of course, you can’t be anything else.”
Belgium’s ‘golden generation’, led by Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany, have still failed to reach a major tournament final despite boasting one of the best teams in the world.