Roberto Martinez leaves role as Belgium manager after World Cup group-stage exit | Football News

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Belgium coach Roberto Martínez has announced that he will step down from his role after failing to qualify for the World Cup in the group stage.

Martinez announced he would not renew his contract Belgium v ​​Croatia 0-0 draw Acknowledging their early removal, he said he “has not resigned.”

In a statement, the Belgian Football Association thanked Martinez for six years of service, but said the country had “failed and disappointed” the Belgian people with his performance in Qatar.

Martinez has previously led Belgium to their best-ever World Cup, finishing third in Russia in 2018. They are Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard in his prime.

However, they were unable to build on that success, losing to Italy in the quarter-finals and being eliminated from Euro 2020.

They arrived in Qatar second in the FIFA rankings, but suffered a shock defeat to Morocco and a goalless draw with Croatia saw them eliminated in the group stage for the first time since 1998, with just one goal.

One of the shocks of this World Cup, the loss to Morocco, Riots in Brussels and Antwerp This forced the police to lock down parts of the city.

Reports of infighting also haunted them in Qatar, with De Bruyne telling reporters the team were ‘too old’ to challenge the competition after a heated on-field exchange with Jan Vertonghen. Told.

Vertonghen later made headlines when he sarcastically used the same criticism to explain why the Belgian attacking players, including De Bruyne, had failed in front of goal during the tournament. .

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Romelu Lukaku missed too many chances against Croatia and could have made it to the last 16

Reflecting on his tenure, Martinez looked back on the positives but said he “had to accept” that his time as manager was over.

“Yes, that was my last match. It’s been six years,” he told reporters. “I arrived with a clear idea of ​​competing in the 2018 World Cup.After that, we worked hard on the project and won the bronze medal.I am very proud of these athletes.” It was amazing.

“It’s been six years where I’ve done everything I wanted to do. The team has played and given people real joy. But this is the time for me to accept. [it is over]I will not resign. That’s the end of my contract.

“Since 2018, I have had many opportunities to leave the club for work, but I wanted to remain loyal.”

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Kevin De Bruyne has to ‘adjust’ to playing alongside his international teammates, telling the media after a heated argument with Jan Vertonghen in the World Cup group stage opener said.

The Belgian FA paid tribute to the outgoing manager in a statement released an hour after his World Cup dismissal, but expressed disappointment with his performance in Qatar.

“I am very disappointed because after the early exit of the national team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, we failed and thereby disappointed the Belgian people who have supported our team all along.

“An era and a cycle have come to an end. Today, our coach Roberto Martinez and the Royal Belgian FA will part ways.

“I am extremely grateful and proud to have worked with Roberto Martinez for over six years.”

Martinez goes to the end of Belgium’s golden age

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:

Roberto Martinez had always planned to step down as Belgian boss at the end of the World Cup campaign. But he must not have expected the announcement to come so soon.

Belgium, alongside Morocco, Canada and 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia, should have been out of Group F and into the knockout round in Qatar.

Instead, there was a series of performances that were of lower quality, less urgency, and led to reports of conflict and disharmony within the camp. Kevin De Bruyne called them “too old.”

It was a disappointing ending for their “golden generation”.

Martinez exploded for 20 minutes at the end of a must-win match against Croatia, so the claim that his side could leave the World Cup with their heads held high was puzzling. Yes, Romelu Lukaku had to convert at least one of his many chances, but Belgium were again off the pace before their second-half comeback.

Martinez was also out there on Wednesday. Belgium may not have won silver under him, but their legacy is still a good one, he argued: in the world he is number one, in Russia he is number three, next generation An inspiration to, a catalyst for investing in Belgian football, a top player preparing to become a coach…

Will it turn away from their shortcomings in a moment of crisis? For Martinez’s Belgium, it was a case of ‘what if’.

They lost to eventual World Cup winners France four years ago. They were knocked out by eventual winners Italy in the quarter-finals of last summer’s Euros, the same two teams failed to medal in the 2021 Nations League final.

Martinez could well reflect that any tactical or in-game change could change the direction of his team in that moment. Or just below? However, these results often come down to small margins. Perhaps the real problem with this group of players is not what they did before: near misses, but how poor they were in Qatar.

Was Martinez good enough to refresh the team? It feels like a failure. Against Croatia, he had only three players under the age of 29 in the starting line-up. Experienced numbers have led Belgium to impressive results, including a quarter-final victory over Brazil in Russia. But like Martinez, it was clear they were preparing to withdraw. And it showed.

Neville: Belgium seemed fed up with each other’s companies

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville told ITV:

“They will be very disappointed that they’ve wasted an opportunity and gone through a career that didn’t seem like they were going to win a tournament together.

“In the end, they seemed fed up with each other’s company. Roberto did the right thing by resigning. Take control yourself.”

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