Roberto Martinez Urges Belgium to ‘Finish on a High’ After 1-0 France Semi Final Defeat

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Belgium manager Roberto Martinez was pleased with his side’s performance at this World Cup despite losing their semi final clash with France on Tuesday. Martinez felt his side gave a good account of themselves in a tight game but admits he was disappointed that a set piece ultimately split the two sides. 

Samuel Umtiti stole a march on Toby Alderwiereld to meet Antoine Griezmann’s corner and put his side in the lead in the 51st minute. It was a well worked set piece routine from the French, allowing them to gradually dropped deeper and comfortably see out the game to secure a first World Cup final appearance since 2006.

Martinez expressed his disappointment in that goal in his post-match interview as quoted by the Guardian: “It was a question of details. Unfortunately for us the difference was a deadball situation. The game was very close, very tight. It was going to be decided by whoever could find that final touch in the box or a bit of luck in front of goal.”

Overall though Martinez was happy with his side, adding: “The effort from the players was magnificent, I couldn’t ask for more. In football you have to understand there are winners and losers but if you are going to lose, you do it while giving everything.”

Belgium will not be taking their foot off the gas in their final game as Martinez also went on to insist his side will keep pushing for the best possible finish. 

He added: “Now we need to get rid of this disappointment and make sure we finish on a high. These players don’t deserve to leave the tournament with a bad taste. We can’t be anything other than disappointed now but we will try to finish the tournament on a high [by winning the third-place playoff].”

The Red Devils will have to wait to know their opponents for that game, as they will meet the losers of the clash between England and Croatia in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday. 

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