Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne believes the Red Devils can feel proud of their 2018 World Cup campaign despite losing to France in the semi-finals.
Roberto Martinez’s charges were beaten 1-0 at Saint-Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday night, with Samuel Umtiti heading home the winner from a corner kick just after half-time.
De Bruyne says he knew it was going to be a close game and that his teammates shouldn’t feel too disappointed because they gave a good account of themselves.
He told FIFA: “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.
“We did everything we could to test them, but it just wasn’t meant to be today. That’s how football goes, and when you feel you’ve done all you can then you just have to accept it.
“We did what we had to do. I’m proud of the way we performed and of our World Cup. France maybe played a little defensively but the beauty of football is that you can choose the way you want to play. I respect that.
“We feel we’ve given our all and we need to focus on the positives.”
Belgium will face the loser of the other semi-final, between England and Croatia, to fight for third place at the World Cup.
“We’ve got just one wish now: to win a sixth match in Russia so we can go away on holiday even more at peace with ourselves.”