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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK

Wilmots tells of ref's apology

By John Chapman

Belgium were left to reflect on a disallowed first-half "goal" after their second round defeat to Brazil.

And captain Marc Wilmots said Jamaican referee Peter Prendergast apologised for the error at half time.

With the match goalless, Wilmots, who was playing his last international match, climbed above Roque Junior to convert a right-wing cross on 36 minutes.

" That decision changed the course of the match "
Coach Robert Waseige

But, as he wheeled away to celebrate giving his side a surprise lead, Prenedergast called him back for a foul.

Wilmots said: "It's hard to accept decisions like that but you just have to get on with the game."

Coach Robert Waseige, who is also calling time on his international career, was delighted that his charges continued to push Brazil until the final whistle, but was left to rue the referee's ruling.

"I think the match could have ended with a big surprise as far as the result is concerned," Waseige said.

"We all thought the goal was valid, that decision changed the course of the match.

"But that's football," he added. "The talent of Rivaldo decided the game."

Rivaldo's sensational second-half goal set the South Americans on their way.

However, Brazil were only assured of a quarter-final meeting against England when they caught Belgium with a late counter-attack and Ronaldo scored a second.

Waseige had words of encouragement for Sven-Goran Eriksson, whose England side will play Brazil in on Friday.

"I think this Brazilian defence can be beaten," he said.

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