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Russia 2018 World Cup mascot Zabivaka is displayed outside Kazan Arena stadium in Kazan on June 23, 2018 on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group H football match between Poland and Colombia. / AFP PHOTO / LUIS ACOSTA

AFP Sport picks out some of the best quotes at the World Cup:

"I feel it was a tragedy, but I have to accept the defeat as a fact, I feel devastated and very disappointed."

-- Japan coach Akira Nishino on the Blue Samurai's crushing last-gasp loss to Belgium after going up 2-0 in the second half.

"To be fair, we were thinking it was like two years ago against Wales."

-- Belgium captain Eden Hazard admits memories of his squad's shock Euro 2016 defeat to Wales haunted him when they were down against Japan.

"That was a test for the team and its character... We survived it, we have gone through and that is the most important thing."

-- Belgium coach Roberto Martinez after his side produced one of the great comebacks in World Cup history.

"Look, I think it's more an attempt to undermine me than anything else... I don't care much for criticism, or praise, because this can influence your attitude."

-- Neymar after being widely criticised for writhing in agony on the turf, then getting on his feet and sprinting off soon afterwards, during Brazil's 2-0 win against Mexico.

"I think it's a shame for football... This is a very bad example for the world and the world of football."

-- Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio on a certain Brazilian player -- whom he did not name -- wasting time.

"I think we've been in this position before many times over the last however many years."

-- England manager Gareth Southgate on his country's dreadful recent record in the knockout stage of major tournaments.

"More alone than a lone madmen. The exit is that way."

-- Argentina sports newspaper Ole leaves its readers in no doubt over their opinion of Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli following the team's last 16 defeat to France.




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