Romelu Lukaku's performance against France came in for a lot of criticism
Belgium are out of the World Cup.
Well, they have to play a third-place playoff on Saturday, but they won't be world champions. Belgium lost 1-0 to France on Tuesday night in St Petersburg in the first semi-final of the tournament.
It was a frustrating night for Roberto Martinez's side. After knocking favourites Brazil out of the tournament with an impressive display, they went into the semi-final full of confidence, but couldn't find a way past a stubborn French team.
France have assembled one of the most talented and exciting squads in world football, but they ground out this victory.
Samuel Umtiti's goal from a corner gave them the win, and they were happy to play the entire match on the counter-attack.
For some reason, the BBC commentator said that the game would perhaps "open-up" when the first goal came. The opposite happened. France retreated and held out for the win.
xG map for #FRA-#BEL. Roberto Martinez tried his darnedest to open up the match, but France held firm, defended and defended and defended, and broke off just enough attacks for a solid win. pic.twitter.com/84HczC18Vn
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) July 10, 2018
Umtiti, and particularly Raphael Varane, were excellent at the back for France. They comfortably dealt with the threat of Romelu Lukaku. The Manchester United striker played very well in the win over Brazil, but struggled to make any impact against France. Lukaku had just 22 touches of the ball. No other player who started the match touched the ball less.
In fairness to Lukaku, he was up against two top-class defenders and a defence sitting very deep. He also wasn't the only Belgian player to disappoint on the night. Kevin De Bruyne wasn't his brilliant best and Mousa Dembele struggled. Marouane Fellaini was also slow to react when Umtiti scored with a near-post header. Eden Hazard was Belgium's best player on the night
However, Lukaku's performance wasn't well received by those watching at home.
People keep telling me Lukaku was playing the whole time...
— Motheo Mhala (@MotheoMhala) July 10, 2018
Lukaku dropping a 0/10 in a big game but what's new?
— Thiago Alcanthala (@NotStanding) July 10, 2018
lukaku trying to control the ball pic.twitter.com/kECQwd8zBU
— Qasim Farooq (@MangoLassC) July 10, 2018
1. Lukaku played like he was still at Chelsea.
2. De Bruyne played worse than he did at Chelsea.
3. Eden Hazard and Courtious did the most for Belgium.
5: Wtf is the point of VAR if Giroud can tackle Hazard right outside the box like that.
— Fiyin (@d_dcee) July 10, 2018