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Defeat painful but Martinez proud of his 'golden generation' players

Defeat painful but Martinez proud of his 'golden generation' players


DPA
St Petersburg
Roberto Martinez said he was proud of his 'golden generation'~of Belgium players even as they fell to a painful 1-0 defeat by France in the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.
However the Spanish coach admitted he may refresh the squad with some younger players as he looks towards Euro 2020.
Samuel Umtiti's header split the teams at the St Petersburg Stadium and Spanish coach Martinez thinks his team managed to shut France down but lacked luck as they failed to reach the final for what would have been the first time in their history.
Belgium finished fourth in the 1986 World Cup and will try to go one better on Saturday when they play whichever of England or Croatia loses in Wednesday's second semi-final.
Belgium failed to break down France's defence in the second half with Les Bleus sitting deep after Umtiti's 51st minute effort from Antoine Griezmann's corner broke the deadlock.
"Defeat was down to one dead ball situation, that was how close the game was,"~Martinez told reporters.
"France wanted to exploit the counter-attack with the pace of (Kylian) Mbappe and Griezmann, I was happy with how we controlled that. I didn't see a dangerous counter through the 90 minutes, maybe just one.
"I thought not having a little bit of luck was the difference. I'm so proud of the players, giving everything they had until the last."
Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois form part of what has been described as Belgium's 'golden generation'~and while they will remain part of the side, Vincent Kompany, Dries Mertens, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele, among others, are 30 or older and may not make it to Euro 2020.
"I think it's too early to make any assessments of the tournament," added Martinez.
"We'll come back to St Petersburg and fight for third place. Then we need to look at the younger generations and try to become stronger."Belgian football has a wealth of young talent coming through. I have got my eyes on Euro 2020."

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