Argentina vs Belgium World Cup 2014: Marc Wilmots lashes out at gamesmanship of ‘ordinary’ conquerors

Wilmots believes Lionel Messi was given too much protection and that time wasting was not picked up on


Marc Wilmots, the Belgium manager, last night launched an extraordinary attack on Argentina, accusing them of being an “ordinary” team who had employed gamesmanship to secure a World Cup quarter-final win over his side which he said they did not deserve.

The Belgians were actually resoundingly beaten by an Argentina with great know-how, who secured a first-half lead and closed down the game.

Belgium’s disappointing performance was typified by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who failed to make any impression on the match.

But Wilmots did little to enhance his reputation by attacking what he called Argentinian negative tactics, accusing the referee of favouritism towards Lionel Messi and then concluding his press conference by stating: “We need to lose gracefully. That’s what I’m doing.”


Wilmots said Argentina’s manager, Alex Sabella, had only wanted to destroy the game. “How many shots did Argentina have?” he asked.

“Seriously. If we’d played this way we’d have been destroyed by the Belgian press. We are disappointed to go home.”

He also depicted the opposition – who will learn today whether Angel di Maria’s thigh injury will prevent him from playing in Wednesday’s semi-final – as a team of fewer talents than his own.

“When you look at Argentina, they have Di Maria and Messi who are top five players,” he said. “They play with what is available. We have a collective but Argentina depends on three, four, five attacking players who can make a decisive impact in the team. I’ve rarely seen Argentina cramp up like they did. They had been stretched. If we’d equalised in the last few minutes, they would be dead. Finished.”

Read more: Argentina 1 Belgium 0 match report
Messi can take over from Neymar as the star turn
Real Madrid legend Di Stefano suffers heart attack

Messi could have been booked in the first half when leaving his foot in after a challenge and this also angered Wilmots.

“Messi is the star player, the player who gives them rhythm,” he said. “He never loses the ball. But he made a couple of fouls and I noticed the referee never gave a foul against him.

“I don’t want to be a cry baby, but I noticed the referee never gives fouls against Argentina. He made three fouls and no yellow card. We had one foul, and a yellow card.

“But I’m not complaining about the refereeing. We move on. I’m thinking about how we move on and build from this.”

Wilmots, whose decision to start with teenager Divock Origi did not work, pinpointed two errors form his own side which he said were significant. Captain Vincent Kompany passing straight to Javier Mascherano before the move which gave Argentina their goal and Origis’s replacement, Romelu Lukakau, passing when he should simply have taken aim, in the second half.

Wilmots also cited fatigue after the extra time needed in the round of 16 game against the United States.

“We were on top and Vincent [Kompany] came forward with the ball, then they steal it and score,” he reflected. “One small mistake... We’re incredibly sorry we’ve lost and you could sense the disappointment in the dressing room. But we are the youngest side in the tournament and we’ve learned from this.”

Sabella’s press conference was concluded before Wilmots’s points could be put to him. He described the game as tactically astute one for Argentina. Though Higuain was named man of the match, Sabella concentrated his praise on Messi’s contribution again.

“He never loses the ball – or almost never,” Sabella said. “He occupies three players every time he has it, so he gives us water in the desert. Water in the desert. Today, when it was dry, he gave us that breath of fresh air every time he held onto the ball.”

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments