Wilmots slams 'ordinary' Argentina

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Marc Wilmots does not rate Argentina Marc Wilmots does not rate Argentina

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots labelled Argentina as "ordinary" and criticised their spoiling tactics as his side went out of the World Cup after a 1-0 defeat in the quarter-final in Brasilia.

Gonzalo Higuain's early goal was enough to decide the contest after which Wilmots said he was proud of his team but derided Argentina's approach.

Wilmots also claimed Lionel Messi was given an easy ride by the referee, Nicola Rizzoli of Italy.

The Belgium coach said: "We were not impressed by the Argentinians, they were just an ordinary team.

"They can distort the rhythm, they take 30 seconds to take a throw-in and the referee doesn't do anything.

"They had the goal, and Messi was one-on-one with (Thibaut) Courtois at the end but how many shots have they had? If I played that way I would have been destroyed by the Belgium press.

"They didn't give us any space, this was a World Cup quarter-final and their extra experience probably counted for something."

Wilmots said the referee had favoured Argentina and in particular Messi.

"I don't want to be a cry baby, but every time there is a little foul it was always in favour of Argentina," he added.

"Every time something happens with Messi the referee gives him a free-kick.

"I notice he made three fouls and no yellow card, we made one foul and one yellow card."

Higuain's goal came when Vincent Kompany strayed from his position and the Napoli striker scored with a first-time shot.

Wilmots said: "We make a small, small mistake, Vincent comes out of position and they score.

"I'm very proud of the boys, I have told them 'you guys are the youngest of all the last-eight teams'.

"There was a great deal of emotion, some of my staff were crying in the dressing room, because there is so much passion."

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said his players had made some history after they reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Sabella said: "After 24 years this is a good tribute to this squad - they will go down in history as one of the best four teams in the world and we will see if they can go one step more."

Sabella also praised Messi's contribution in a midfield role.

He added: "I felt he played a wonderful match. it's not only scoring goals, it's having possession, taking out three opponents and every move he makes is a sign of hope for us and endangers our opponents.

"That a player like Messi almost never loses the ball is water in the desert - he gives us that water in the desert.

"Today when the terrain was dry he gave us that breath of fresh air every time he had the ball."

Sabella said Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria would have tests on a thigh problem after he limped out of the match.

He said: "Angel has a problem in his right thigh and tomorrow he will have some tests and we will see, he is one of the key figures for us."

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