Belgium was eliminated from the World Cup in the group stage. Although 4 years ago they won 3rd place. Lukaku and The Golden Generation ended in humiliation after a draw with Croatia.
Being beaten by Morocco in the second match of the 2022 World Cup puts Belgium in danger of being eliminated in the group stage, before heading into the final match.
Morocco continues to beat Canada, Belgium must beat 2018 runner-up Croatia to continue. The last time they were eliminated from the group stage was in 1998. However, Roberto Martinez’s team only had a weak performance with a goalless draw. Romelu Lukaku missed four scoring opportunities in the second half.
This result means Belgium is eliminated in the first round.
The first half saw Croatia was denied a penalty after VAR was found offside, in a game where Belgium was very passive.
The introduction of Lukaku on the pitch enhanced Belgium’s attack, as he hit the post after Yannick Carrasco’s finish. Moments later, the Inter Milan striker missed his header, and ended up missing the best chance of the match at the last minute.
Thorgan Hazard’s cross knocked out both Dominik Livakovic and Dejan Lovren to find Lukaku in the far corner but he failed to adjust and the ball hit him in the chest before being caught by the keeper.
Martinez is seen as being able to bring Belgium’s golden generation to success, with a squad that includes Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard having played together in the last four major tournaments.
- However, his older stars were overwhelmed in Qatar and were only lucky to get all 3 points in the opening match against Canada. Michy Batshuayi scored the only goal of the game after Alphonso Davies missed the penalty kick.
- Belgium were then beaten by Morocco with goals from Romain Saiss and Zakaria Aboukhlal. It was Belgium’s first loss in the group stage since 1994.
Belgium’s World Cup has been marred by tensions within the team, with players reported to have scuffled in the dressing room following the loss to Morocco.
Meanwhile, a number of players have publicly stated that they are not good enough to achieve glory, including De Bruyne and Hazard. Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen were at odds.
Martinez is now set to leave his coaching role, with his contract expiring after the World Cup.
Since 2016, the former Everton manager has been close to successfully taking Belgium to its first World Cup final, reaching the quarter-finals at Euro last summer and finishing fourth in the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League.
The golden generation helped Belgium rise to 1st place in the FIFA rankings, but never once entered a major final. It’s really a surprise, considering that the Belgian squad at this stage is really strong. But people can’t explain why they always have to stop.
Is it because the fighting spirit is not enough, or the head coach Roberto Martinez is not good enough to lead such a group of stars?
In the interview after the game, coach Roberto Martinez confirmed his departure. Earlier, the Royal Belgian FA announced that he was no longer leading the national team.
“This is my last game as Belgium coach, the six-year journey is over.”
Romelu Lukaku has the worst performance in World Cup history
Romelu Lukaku had the worst performance in World Cup history as Belgium’s golden generation failed at the last major tournament.
Lukaku missed several chances – as Belgium needed goals to advance to the knockout stages. According to ESPN, Lukaku finished his 45 minutes with an xG (expected goal) ratio of 1.67, but he failed to convert the chance into a goal.
Lukaku missed four scoring opportunities, the most in a World Cup match.
In the decisive match against Croatia, Lukaku came on in the second half to replace Dries Mertens.
In the 61st minute, Kevin De Bruyne had an excellent pass for Yannick Carrasco to finish, the ball went to Lukaku’s position. In front of the open goal, the striker born in 1993 still could not score. Two minutes later, he disappointed again with a failed header from close range.
90 minutes, the opportunity once came to Lukaku in the 5.5m area. Dominik Livakovic was helpless but the former Man United striker had a clumsy chest tackle, returning the ball to the Croatian goalkeeper.
Minutes after the match ended, the Belgian press and fans criticized Lukaku: “Lukaku is a fatal knife for the Red Devils”.
Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper published a picture of Lukaku falling on Thierry Henry’s shoulder to cry after the match with reproachful comments: “This great generation deserves a better farewell than a goalless game. Lukaku passed up too many opportunities. His anger and tears showed it. In Thierry Henry’s arms, he cried a lot but it was no use.”
One fan tweeted: “This disastrous cameo by Lukaku is what Belgian football fans fear the most.”
“I laughed out loud because Lukaku lacked seven people to look after him but that laughter turned to tears when I remembered we paid £100m for him!”
“I actually cried with that performance of Lukaku. The funniest footballer in history.”
While another joked: “I really think he had one of the worst performances I’ve seen at this World Cup! He should have scored a hat trick.”
Account Süleyman Öztürk wrote: “What Lukaku missed against Croatia, I think he will have nightmares every night for the next 10 years.”