By Patrick Johnston
BRASILIA, July 5 (Reuters) - Beaten and bored by "ordinary" Argentina, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said he was less than impressed by a team that ended his side's World Cup hopes on Saturday.
The South Americans nullified their quarter-final opponents expertly by holding possession, staying defensive and wasting time at every opportunity after taking an early 1-0 lead, which they never relented, to reach the last four.
"If I had played this way I would have been destroyed by the Belgian press," Wilmots told reporters.
"We've seen the experience of Argentina, they can distort rhythm, it takes 30 seconds to take a throw in, the referee does nothing so they can break our rhythm and speed.
"We were not impressed by the Argentines, absolutely not, it's just an ordinary team."
Wilmots was an animated character on the touchline throughout the clash at the Brasilia national stadium, remonstrating with officials and even Argentina skipper Lionel Messi.
Messi was perhaps fortunate not to receive a yellow card after a couple of strong challenges, particularly one in the second half where his studs were raised. Wilmots was not amused.
"Messi is the star player, he never loses the ball but he made a couple of tackles and fouls, the referee is never against him, every time there was a little foul it was almost always in favour of Argentina," he said.
Despite the defeat, the former creative midfielder who appeared in three consecutive World Cups for Belgium from 1994, was not downbeat on his side.
Having reached only their second ever World Cup quarter-final, Wilmots said the experience would stand his youthful squad in good stead.
"We've learned a lot today, we're incredibly sorry we lost but we are very proud of the boys, they shouldn't regret anything, we were the youngest team among the last eight," he said.
"We had one or two chances and you have to score at this level.
"The world has seen that Belgium has an excellent team but our opponent didn't give us any space and this was a World Cup quarter-final, but maybe the details make a difference.
"We are lacking a little something but I think we have a good group for the future." (Additional reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Justin Palmer)