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Belgium coach Marc Wilmots seems like a bit of a sore loser

Jul 6, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT

wilmots AP

On Saturday, Gonzalo Higuaín struck early for Argentina. Belgium were left chasing the game, but were reduced to sending in the majority of their shots from distance, stymied by a rejigged Argentina defense. Despite a flurry of shots from the Belgium players to close out the game, Higuaín’s goal proved sufficient, and Argentina advanced with a 1-o victory.

While many were impressed by Argentina’s improved defense, and encouraged by the fact that, for once, they did not seem overly reliant on Lionel Messi, one man remained jaded. That man is Belgium coach Marc Wilmots, who spoke out after the game:

We were not impressed by Argentina, absolutely not. I think that Messi is the star striker, star player, he never loses the ball. But I noticed a couple of fouls and the referee is never against him. I am noticing every time there is a little foul it is always in favor of Argentina.

If we could have equalized in the last few seconds, Argentina is dead. They are finished.

Now, I’m not sure if by “They are finished,” Wilmots is still referencing Saturday’s game, or if he is implying that Argentina will fail to progress to the final. Wilmots does have a point – Argentina would have had to change their entire gameplan had Belgium forced them into extra time. They may not have advanced to the semi-final in that case.

Yet mostly, this feels like the last gasping breaths of a dying man. Most were not impressed by Wilmots’ approach to the World Cup matches. Against Argentina, he chose to save the likes of Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku until the end of the match, perhaps believing the side would have needed fresh legs by that point. The strategy failed, as did replacing the unimpressive Eden Hazard with Nacer Chadli.

On the whole, Belgium – a team from whom so many expected so much – failed to deliver. It was the likes of Mertens and young Divock Origi that impressed, while Wilmots never managed to get the best from Hazard or Lukaku. Belgium’s inability to go further in the tournament was primarily down to coaching rather than talent, and Wilmots likely knows his number is up.

And no amount of lashing out at his opponents will change that fact.

  1. braxtonrob - Jul 6, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    It was a very good game, (one of the best I’ve seen this tournament), and I think the Belgium coach underestimated Argentina’s performance. They knew what they were doing, shutting down the game. Belgium is clearly one of the top teams in the world right now, but their scoring chances (especially service) needs a little more improvement, and their defense is definitely not perfect.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      They scored in the 8th minute and killed the game for 80 minutes. Impressive tactically and defensively maybe but hardly a good game. And Divemany did the same thing in their match, which should set the scene for two of the most boring semis in history. At least if Argentina/Divemany score first.

    • scoochpooch - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Maybe tactically but it was so boring to watch. Once Argentina scored you knew it was over. A marvelous group stage has ransformed into an awful knockout round. Extra Time, penalty kicks – ugh.

  2. dbfan4ever - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    I am going ahead and throwing it out there it seems to me that the South America teams are getting favorable treatment from the officials

  3. urallstupid - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    hazard was trash all tournament. not sure why people say he is good.

    • korules - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:19 AM

      Cause he is, he just didn’t have a good tournament.

  4. ravenseers - Jul 6, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Hey Wilmots…as a coach, you are a great politician. Go home loser! Argentina beat you fair and square, and they out coached you too.

  5. sw19womble - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    Argentina are pretty average, apart from Messi. Any team should beat them.

    Belgium didn’t: which says more about Wilmots’ tactics and managerial nous than it does about Argentina.

    Let’s hope that the Netherlands look at the game tape and realise that sitting back and waiting patiently is an awful tactic – which all the European teams seem to have adopted in the knockout rounds – usually leading to their own downfall.

    • shaab23 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      Have you ever seen Robben sit back and wait??? Netherlands should beat them handily; Argentina’s defense is garbage.

      • scoochpooch - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        On paper obviously you’re right but if Netherlands might not win if it continues to hit the goalposts instead of the back of the net. What did the hit 5 posts/woodwork the other day?

  6. mikeevergreen - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    I didn’t know that Belgium made whine from sour grapes!

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