It’s definitely the end of the cycle. In the minutes following Belgium’s elimination from the World Cup after their draw against Croatia (0-0) on Thursday evening, coach Roberto Martinez announced that he was leaving his post.
“I say goodbye to the national team, and it’s full of emotion as you can imagine,” said the 49-year-old Spaniard at a press conference. No matter what, it was going to be the end. Elimination in the group stage does not change anything. I made the decision just before the start of the World Cup. I wanted a long term project. I wanted to be loyal to Belgium and finish the job. I turned down several offers during this time. »
The Belgian federation confirms that the decision of his departure had been taken before the start of the competition, his contract expiring at the end of the month even if it included an option of extension in the event of qualification for the 8th finals.
The results of Roberto Martinez, who took charge of the Red Devils in August 2016, remain generally positive. He had notably led his training to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup (a 3rd place after the elimination against France) and in the quarter-finals of Euro 2021. This elimination in the first round nevertheless leaves a bitter taste in the look of the brilliant generation that made up the selection of the Red Devils. The arrival of a new coach to replace Roberto Martinez should allow Belgium to start from scratch and rejuvenate an aging and declining squad.