Wilmots criticises 'ordinary' Argentina and their spoiling tactics
Wilmots blasts rivals' safe approach and slams ref for protecting Messi
(Gonzalo Higuain 8)
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots labelled Argentina as "ordinary" and criticised their spoiling tactics, after his side lost 1-0 to them in their quarter-final in Brasilia this morning (Singapore time).
Gonzalo Higuain's early goal was enough to decide the contest, after which Wilmots said he was proud of his team but derided Argentina's approach.
Wilmots also claimed that Lionel Messi was given an easy ride by the referee, Nicola Rizzoli of Italy.
Said Wilmots: "We were not impressed by the Argentinians, they were just an ordinary team.
"They can distort the rhythm, they take 30 seconds to take a throw-in and the referee doesn't do anything.
"They had the goal, and Messi was one-on-one with (Thibaut) Courtois at the end, but how many shots have they had?
"If I had played that way, I would have been destroyed by the Belgium press.
"They didn't give us any space, this was a World Cup quarter-final and their extra experience probably counted for something."
Wilmots said the referee had favoured Argentina and, in particular, Messi.
"I Don't want to be a crybaby but, every time there was a little foul, it was always in favour of argentina," added the 45-year-old.
"Every time something happens with Messi, the referee gives him a free-kick.
"I notice he made three fouls and no yellow card, we made one foul and one yellow card."
Belgium exited from the World Cup with a sense of unfinished business but they have set a marker for future tournaments, notably the next European Championship in 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
With a relatively youthful squad - the third youngest of the 32 teams at this World Cup with an average age of 25.5 years - the Red Devils have the potential to develop into a force to be reckoned with.
But questions must be asked of their talisman Eden Hazard, who showed only glimpses of his potential and was overshadowed by the outstanding Kevin de Bruyne.
Apart from de Bruyne, there were other impressive individual performances from captain Vincent Kompany, goalkeeper Courtois, Axel Witsel and teenage striker Divock Origi.
"We did our best and that is the most important," said Kompany.
"Our young team know there are more World Cups to come.
"Maybe in four years' time in Russia, we'll have a better chance."
- Wire Services.
- Total shots: Argentina 10, Belgium 11
- Shots on target: Argentina 2, Belgium 5
- Corners: Argentina 3, Belgium 4
- Offsides: Argentina 1, Belgium 6
- Fouls committed: Argentina 11, Belgium 14
- Yellow cards: Argentina 1, Belgium 2
- Ball possession: Argentina 51%, Belgium 49%