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#WorldCup 2018: Belgium Captain, Hazard Blasts France’s Anti-football Tactics In Semi-Final Defeat



Belgium captain, Eden Hazard, has hit out at what he terms France’s anti-football tactics after his country’s World Cup 1-0 semi-final loss at the Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg on Tuesday.

Belgium captain, Eden Hazard echoed the sentiments of goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois and said that he would rather lose than win by playing the way France did on Tuesday night.

Hazard, who was outstanding at this World Cup and indeed against France, led Belgium from the front but saw his efforts go to vain as Didier Deschamps’ side retreated into their shells once Samuel Umtiti had headed the only goal of the game in the 50th minute.

With Kylian Mbappe on the side, France could play defensively and wait for Mbappe to use his pace during the counterattacks.

Umtiti’s 51st-minute header from a corner gave France a 1-0 win, as they defended deep to close it out and reach a third World Cup final.

After the game, Hazard said that how France played was expected off them but reiterated that Belgium deserved more for playing the better football.

“I think we deserved better, we were expecting this game, with a French team that defends well and lurks with the counterattack, I prefer to lose with this Belgium than to win with that France,” he said after the match.

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Goalkeeper Courtois also criticized the way France played. “France played anti-football,” Courtois told Belgian newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad.

“I’ve not yet experienced a striker (Olivier Giroud) playing so far from goal.

“It was a frustrating match. France didn’t play at all, they defended with 11 players within 40 metres of their goal,” the Chelsea goalkeeper further told Belgian TV channel, RTBF.

“They played on the counter-attack with (Kylian) Mbappe, who is very quick. That’s their right. They know when an opponent plays very deep, that’s where we have problems.

“The frustration is there because we didn’t lose to a team who are better than us, we lost to a team who play nothing, just defend.

“Against Uruguay (in the quarter-finals) they scored with a free-kick and a goalkeeping error. Today, a corner. It’s a shame for football that Belgium didn’t win today.”

France, the 1998 champions, will face either England or Croatia in Sunday’s final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.