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Belgium

Roberto Martinez quits Belgium national team after crashing out of World Cup group stage

10:13 PM GMT+4 01/12/2022
Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez confirmed he will not continue as Belgium's coach after they crashed out of the World Cup group stage on Thursday.
  • Belgium crashed out of World Cup
  • Martinez has "no regrets" despite upset
  • Coach will not continue with Belgium

WHAT HAPPENED? After starting the campaign with a 1-0 win against Canada, Belgium were beaten by Morocco and needed a win against Croatia to secure a place in the last-16. However, Martinez's men played out a goalless draw with Croatia while Romelu Lukaku missed three big chances, sending them out of the tournament.

WHAT THEY SAID: “This was my last game as national coach. I said goodbye to the players and staff," Martinez said after the game. “Today we were ourselves again. It is never easy to win a match at a World Cup. In that first match against Canada we won, but we weren't ourselves. We deservedly lost the second match against Morocco. We weren't ready.

"Today we created a lot of chances, so no, I have no regrets. We can leave the World Cup with our heads held high. Of course, elimination in the group stage is not enough for Belgium. We wanted to push through, but every country wants that. This is the best tournament in the world. We won our three group matches at the [2018] World Cup, and also at the [2020] European Championship. But then we were also eliminated. For me the feeling is the same. I can accept this way of losing."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martinez spent six years in charge of the team and guided them to third place at the 2018 World Cup before they made it to the quarter-finals at Euro 2020.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? This is the first time since 1998 that Belgium have failed to progress beyond the knockout stages of the World Cup.

WHAT NEXT FOR BELGIUM? The Red Devils will look for a new head coach before their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign starts with a game against Sweden in March 2023.