Roberto Martinez steps down as Belgium manager after World Cup exit


Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez fought again the tears as he confirmed his facet’s 0-0 draw with Croatia was his final sport within the job.

he 49-year-old Spaniard mentioned he is not going to be extending his contract, which expires on the finish of Qatar 2022, after Belgium didn’t get out of their group.

Martinez, who led Belgium to a third-placed end at Russia 2018 after taking up the function in 2016, was requested if the hugs he gave his gamers after being held by Croatia had been “goodbye hugs”.

“Sure, that was my final sport with the nationwide crew,” the previous Everton boss mentioned. “That is emotional, as you possibly can think about. I can’t keep it up (answering), sorry.”

When requested if he was sorry to have bowed out on a disappointing word, Martinez added: “I by no means have a look at it that manner. I’m an individual who likes to construct issues.

“I’ve been six years with the nationwide crew. I arrived with a transparent job of qualifying for the World Cup and also you get so engaged with the venture and the folks behind the gamers.

“After which we completed with a bronze medal (at Russia 2018) and it felt that we needed to give it one other go and it’s been an actual pleasure.

“We’ve been capable of construct an actual legacy, and I do know lots of people say you possibly can solely construct legacy by profitable a serious event, however I see it otherwise. I’m so pleased with these gamers.”

Belgium completed third in Group F, behind winners Morocco and Croatia, having beforehand crushed Canada 1-0 earlier than shedding 2-0 to the North Africans.

When explaining what had gone mistaken in Qatar, Martinez mentioned: “I believe it’s very clear. You come to the World Cup and it’s a must to play three video games and we solely performed one.

“The primary video games we had been fearful, not the crew that we’re. We listened to the surface noise, we had been feeling the duty. We performed considering if we lose a sport we might be out and that’s what price us.

“Immediately was a efficiency and I felt we had been the higher crew. We created higher possibilities. Croatia are an incredible facet and I felt as we speak, had we gone by, you’ll have seen the actual Belgium.”

Croatia, who had drawn 0-0 with Morocco and crushed Canada 4-1, completed second in Group F and within the final 16 will face the winners of Group E, which is at the moment led by Spain.

Head coach Zlatko Dalic congratulated his gamers on reaching the knockout section and admitted his facet had loved luck.

Dalic mentioned: “I definitely anticipated a tough match towards an incredible crew. Belgium can not play three matches in a row in a really unhealthy method and this was a decisive match.

“However Croatia had been nice, particularly within the first hour. We had a transparent penalty, however VAR dominated towards us.

“It’s to be anticipated {that a} crew reminiscent of Belgium would have sure possibilities and I should be sincere and say that we had been additionally fortunate, they didn’t take their possibilities ultimately.”

Dalic, who mentioned good friend Martinez could be a giant loss to Belgian soccer, added: “It was an incredible match, however very tough match to look at, to steer and it was tough to play, however that is soccer.”

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