BRUSSELS: Belgium´s defeat by France in their World Cup semi-final produced mixed feelings of sadness, gratitude and pride from fans at home on Tuesday, who bemoaned a missed opportunity for their “golden generation”.
A second-half header from Samuel Umtiti in Saint Petersburg gave France a 1-0 win, earning them a place in Sunday´s final in Moscow against either England or Croatia.
Thousands of crestfallen fans walked away quickly after the final whistle sounded on a giant screen in the town of Waterloo, south of the Belgian capital Brussels.
“We´re very disappointed,” 27-year-old Alice Cordier told AFP in Waterloo, where French emperor Napoleon was defeated by a mix of European forces in a huge battle in 1815.
“It´s really too bad to lose to France, Belgium´s national bad luck,” she added. “But we are still proud to be Belgian.”
Some echoed the love-hate relationship and inferiority complex many French-speaking Walons have with their bigger neighbour France.
“We will hear it spoken about for one hundred years,” 26-year-old supporter Stephanie Smeets said. “The French will take the mickey out of us.”