Roberto Martinez has resigned from his role as manager of the Red Devils following their 0-0 draw with Croatia. It is the first time Belgium will crash out at the group stage in the World Cup since 1998.
The Qatar 2022 World Cup has been exciting, but it has been a strange tournament. The favourites have had it tough being at the top of their game.
It is safe to say that the top dogs have been missing in action, with only France, Brazil and perhaps Portugal proving they still have the vibes. While these teams have booked their place in the round of 16, they haven’t been at their peak. Perhaps they will get better as the tournament goes on.
Some of the casualties of the tournament include Germany and Denmark. Two teams that wore their political agendas on their head like a hat. Perhaps for the Qataris, it is good riddance. On Thursday evening, Belgium joined the list of casualties as they failed to go beyond the group stage. A 0-0 draw with Croatia was the final nail in their coffin and sounded the knell for Roberto Martinez.
Martinez quits as Belgium crashes out
Despite being one of the dark horses to win the tournament, it was always clear that Belgium would struggle in Qatar. The Red Devils were little more than ghouls that could do less than Casper the ghost to scare their opponents. It was tough for Belgium in their first game against Canada. They were fortunate to win 1-0.
Belgium lost their next game against Morocco and needed a win over Croatia to qualify for the next round, but failed to overcome the 1998 World Cup finalists. It was a woeful tournament for Belgium and the end of an era for the golden generation that never found its groove.
Following the draw with Croatia, Roberto Martinez announced it was his last game as coach of the Red Devils. Martinez said he bid his players and staff goodbye after the game. According to the former Everton manager, Belgium played well against Croatia, but the World Cup has shown it is not easy to win games.
Assessing Belgium’s World Cup campaign
Martinez reviewed their World Cup campaign and agreed that things didn’t work as planned. He said the team was not itself against Canada even though they won the game 1-0. He said the loss to Morocco was well-deserved, as their display was poor. The loss was a big disappointment for Martinez.
Needing a win against Croatia, Martinez believes his side eventually turned it on but was wasteful. He said his side created several chances and deserved a goal. According to Martinez, there are no regrets. He said the team could leave the World Cup with their heads held high.
Martinez couldn’t hide his disappointment at their elimination but would accept it. He pointed to their past success in the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship. For Martinez, the feeling is the same.
Martinez has been at the helm for Belgium for six years and led the Red Devils to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup. He also led the Red Devils to the quarter-finals at Euro 2020.
Belgium will hunt for a new manager ahead of their Euro 2024 clash with Sweden in March next year.