Belgium’s Eden Hazard has expressed disappointment at his performance as his side bowed out of the World Cup after a 1-0 quarter-final defeat to Argentina.
Playing in their first major international tournament since 2002, Belgium’s much-acclaimed “Golden Generation” were widely considered to be this summer’s dark horses but flattered to deceive during their run to the last eight.
Tipped to be one of the leading stars in Brazil, Hazard in particular failed to assert himself on the pitch over the past few weeks, even being substituted with 15 minutes left of the Argentina match with his side needing a goal, and the Chelsea midfielder has admitted he underperformed.
'Personally, I could have done better. The team expected better, I think,’ he said. ‘It was a big game against the USA which made us all tired. We lacked something more to get to the final four. It’s called experience. We will have it in four years.
‘This is our first [World Cup]. Now I think there are better things to come. They got an early goal and closed down the game after. We saw the path that lay ahead but for me there wasn’t a big difference.’
Coming off a second successful season with Chelsea, Hazard scored 17 goals in 49 games across all competitions during 2013-14 to earn widespread plaudits, being named PFA Young Player of the Year and finishing as runner-up to Luis Suarez for the PFA Player of the Year award.
However, with six goals in 50 caps since his 2008 debut, his displays for the national team have often been criticised in the past, with the 23-year-old yet to replicate his club form for Les Diables Rouges.