Belgium beaten by a much stronger France: no worries, just a little too much cruelty

Belgium beaten by a much stronger France: no worries, just a little too much cruelty
Belgium beaten by a much stronger France: no worries, just a little too much cruelty

Football doesn’t do sentimentality. We’ve known that for a long time. But to end his magnificent international career in this way? Vertonghen didn’t deserve so much cruelty. His more than probable 157th and final cap will forever bear the rancid taste of a Kolo Muani strike deflected four minutes from the end of regulation time. Unfair for the man who has undoubtedly been the most in love with the national team over the last twenty years.

Euro 2024: French cynicism eliminates Belgium again (1-0)

Will other old servants of the Devils also say goodbye on the pitch in Düsseldorf after this elimination against the French neighbor? On Monday evening, Lukaku took a hit against the excellent Saliba. The best center forward in the history of the Kingdom will have gone through this tournament like a shadow, only brought to light against his will by his disallowed goals. And De Bruyne? Will he still want to make the effort at the risk of reducing his lifespan at the highest level? And Witsel after this great aborted return?

The Devils under the microscope: Openda and Lukaku powerless, Vertonghen the unfortunate

Many questions that will find answers in the coming weeks, once the disappointment has been digested. Because disappointment, there is, even against a stronger Blues. The Belgians had come up with a plan that was not far from working. By agreeing to be the little one who tries to hurt the ogre, far from the eye-to-eye duel of 2018 in the semi-final of the World Cup.

The Devils only scored against Romania

There will be no anger this time. There will be no anger at having been better but beaten. The score is the same as six years ago, but that is about the only common point between the two matches. Belgium no longer has the weapons to be a giant of world football. This is an observation that will have to be relearned after the happy years. On Monday, the supporters seemed to have assimilated it, far from the whistles of Stuttgart. They turned the stadium into a “Brüsseldorf”. The only place where the Belgians won was around the pitch, even if some should have refrained from whistling the Marseillaise.

One could write that the Devils had a chance, without it being fake news. Carrasco could have shot earlier and Maignan could have not stopped De Bruyne’s shots, with his foot then his arm. But there was not much else for a team that remains on 191 minutes without a goal and that will have scored only against Romania. The only flaw in the system imagined in Tedesco’s brain was to move Doku so far from the attacking zone. For the rest, everything was attractive, even if the coach was not helped by some. Let us mention Theate, in difficulty as soon as he had the ball at his feet.

This left-back position will be one of Tedesco’s projects between now and 2026. Since there is no real reason to imagine a dissolution of the staff, even if an evaluation will take place at the federation and a surprise is never to be excluded. This Euro will not remain a good memory for the country, but it would be wrong to classify it among the industrial disasters, like Qatar 2022. Would we have beaten the Netherlands if we had finished first in the group? There are probably still too many shortcomings in this group to hope for better in a tournament. The federal coach will have to continue his reconstruction mission, without being afraid to get his hands dirty on the construction site, even if it means breaking part of what he has already built over the past two years.

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