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.
The football World Cup has provided a great spectacle so far and France against Belgium promised to be a match of attacking football and intensity. Understandably, Belgium’s golden generation did not quite appreciate the French tactics. Belgium have lived on the edge throughout this campaign. Their matches against Japan and Brazil only confirm that attitude further. It should be no mystery why they were the competetion’s top scorers.
Hazard, who was outstanding at this World Cup and indeed against France, led Belgium from the front but saw his effort go to vain as 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.
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.
Goalkeeper Courtois also criticized the way France played. "France played anti-football," Courtois said, per Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
“I've not yet experienced a striker (Olivier Giroud) playing so far from goal.
“It's their right to play like that, because they know we're having a difficult time dealing with it, but it is not nice to see. This team was no better than us,” he added.