Belgium’s World Cup adventure came to a halt on Tuesday in St. Petersburg as France progress to this weekend’s final thanks to a single goal from Samuel Umtiti.
Roberto Martinez’s side must now regroup to focus on Saturday’s third place playoff against the loser of Wednesday’s second semi-final between England and Croatia as Belgium’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ failed to overcome a talented French side.
With France President Emmanuel Macron watching in the stands, Deschamps’ side, aided by lung-busting performances by N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, rarely allowed Belgium’s dangermen Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne the space they required to threaten Hugo Lloris in goals.
Belgium, who were placed on arguably the tougher side of the playoff tree by virtue of finishing ahead of England in Group G, now go home having played both Brazil and France in the knockout stages. England, meanwhile, take on Croatia for a place in the final on Wednesday.
The result will be a tough one to take for Belgian football who once again see their incredibly talented ‘Golden Generation’ come up short at a major international tournament.
The Belgium Football Association, along with both fans and players of the beautiful game, have taken to Twitter to celebrate, or commiserate, what was a tense, tight World Cup semi-final.
🙁 No final it is 😢— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) July 10, 2018
That's #Football. We did our best. ⚽️
The support in 🇧🇪 & all over the world was once again amazing !
👏 Félicitations @equipedefrance et bonne chance pour la finale ! 👍
We go for 🥉 now ! 💪
👊🏽 @Fanclub1895 #REDTOGETHER#WorldCup#FRABEL pic.twitter.com/OnLhIg0zoP
On est en finale. Rendez-vous dimanche pour la rapporter. #FRABEL— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 10, 2018
A load of Brazilians among the few fans left in the stadium. They're happily singing pic.twitter.com/RtsurmUF5x— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) July 10, 2018