BRUSSELS – Fans of the Belgium national soccer team saw their dream of watching the “Red Devils” play in the final shattered on Tuesday as the side was defeated 1-0 by France in the semifinal of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“It was a tough game, but in the end it is the rule of football: it is not enough to play well, you also have to score goals,” federal deputy and mayor of Saint-Josse, Emir Kir, told EFE after the match.
The defeat was especially difficult for him because “Eden Hazard is the best player in the world. Belgium has an extraordinary team and was clearly superior to France,” Kir said.
Another Belgian fan, Christophe, said that although he does not frequently play football, the Red Devils “made him follow the World Cup,” adding that Belgium “possibly did everything” in the face of a very strong defense of the French squad.
As in Liege, Brussels or Charleroi, in Saint-Josse, one of the most multicultural areas in the city, around 500 people gathered to see their national team on a giant screen, chanting “Allez les diables!” (Come on, Devils!)
The team’s 2-1 victory against Brazil in the quarterfinals created an atmosphere of jubilation. It faded after the header by France’s Samuel Umtiti in the 51st minute managed to slip past Thibaut Courtois.
Despite dominating the game during the first half, the Belgian team failed to get on the scoreboard and had to weather France’s counterattacks.
“I hope we finish the game with goals. It’s fundamental,” another Belgian fan, Julien, who told EFE before the match that his team would win “by 3-0 or 4-1.”
Regarding one of France’s most dangerous players during the game, 19-year-old striker Kyllian Mbappe, Julien was confident and assured that “he is too young, he is under a lot of pressure and will be blocked.”
Despite their defeat in the semifinals, the Red Devils will still have the opportunity to improve their best historic result in a world championship, a fourth place in Mexico 1986, in the third place game, which they will take part in on Saturday against the defeated team of Wednesday’s Croatia-England match.