- Kevin de Bruyne reflects on Belgium defeat to France
- Midfielder says they can be pleased with their efforts
- Manchester City star comes to terms with defeat
By Simon Massart with Belgium
“That’s football!” goes the saying, one that reflects the resigned air of Belgium’s Red Devils after France had ended their hopes of glory at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday. Their reaction could be perceived as a type of defence mechanism, a way of keeping the sadness and despair they felt at their narrow 1-0 semi-final defeat at bay.
Les Bleus rose to the occasion, and the Red Devils felt they did too, despite the result. Speaking to FIFA afterwards, midfielder Kevin de Bruyne said: “It was literally 50/50. We knew it was going to come down to the little details, and it was a corner that made the difference [which Samuel Umtiti scored from].”
The other detail lies in Belgium’s match statistics: despite completing 594 passes – more than 91 per cent of which were successful – to France’s 345, and enjoying nearly 64 per cent possession, Belgium only managed three on-target attempts on Hugo Lloris’ goal.
It was the worst possible time for the most prolific attack of Russia 2018 to lose their touch in front of goal, their threat blunted by a defensive wall expertly constructed by Didier Deschamps. “We did everything we could to test them, but it just wasn’t meant to be today,” said the Belgian playmaker. “That’s how…