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The Belgium coach could not hide his frustration after his team exited the World Cup at the quarter-final stage against the South Americans

By Stefan Coerts in Brasila

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has labelled Argentina “an ordinary side” after they knocked the Europeans out of the World Cup on Saturday.

Gonzalo Higuain’s first-half strike proved the difference in their quarter-final clash in Brasilia with Belgium offering little going forward until the latter stages when they resorted to long-ball tactics to try to force an equaliser.

Even though he insisted he was “losing gracefully”, Wilmots also felt Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli was a factor in his team’s exit.

He said: “It’s hard to know how we lost. Firstly, we saw how experienced the Argentines are. They affected the rhythm of the game, breaking it up, taking 30 seconds to take a throw-in. And they were allowed to do it.

“We weren’t impressed by Argentina, they’re an ordinary side. But we lost.”

Wilmots felt Rizzoli should have done more to control Lionel Messi, in particular, after claiming the Barcelona star had got away with numerous fouls.

“He committed three or four fouls and the referee did nothing. Messi is a formidable player. He holds the ball well when they need that,” he said.

Wilmots did find time to praise his own side’s efforts, however, adding: “I’m proud of the lads. They put in a lot of effort and I can’t say anything bad about them. I want to thank the guys for how they fought. There were people crying in the dressing room.

 “I think we made mistakes, but I always look to the team. We showed we’re a good side, but they didn’t let us have any space.”

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