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February 6, 2023
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Roberto Martinez steps down from head coach of Belgium post World Cup exit

Roberto Martinez quits as Belgium boss

Following the elimination of Belgium from the World Cup, Roberto Martinez has made the announcement that he will step down as the country’s head coach. Despite being ranked second in the FIFA rankings, Belgium could only place third in Group F, trailing Morocco and Croatia.

The Red Devils needed all three points against Croatia on Thursday in order to advance to the round of 16, but missed opportunities cost them none as Al Rayyan ended in a scoreless stalemate.

Belgium has had a disappointing 2022 by their own lofty standards, winning only five of 11 games across all competitions, with one of their four losses coming against Morocco last weekend.

Martinez has decided to resign from his position as manager after serving in that capacity for six and a half years; his contract is set to expire at the conclusion of the tournament in Qatar.

In 80 games, the Spaniard won 56 and lost just 11, but his tenure as manager was largely defined by close calls with Belgium’s supposedly golden generation. Belgium advanced to the 2018 World Cup semifinals, defeating Brazil in the round of eight before falling to eventual champions France 1-0. In the Euro 2020 quarterfinals, Belgium lost to Italy before the Azzurri won the competition.

At the 2021 UEFA Nations League Finals, France extended the trend of Martinez’s team losing to eventual champions by defeating Belgium 3-2 after blowing a two-goal advantage.

Martinez comments on resigning as Belgium Football team’s manager

Martinez spoke about his choice to leave Belgium during a press conference. He said

“That was my last game. It was emotional as you can imagine. The decision was taken just before the World Cup. I always work towards the long-term projects and they need to be set in advance.”

“Since 2018, I had many opportunities to leave to take jobs at club level. I always wanted to be loyal and finish the job. I don’t resign – it is the end of my contract. That was always the plan.”

The 49-year-old further added saying:

“It’s been six years since I arrived with a clear idea to qualify for the World Cup. You get engaged with the people and we felt we needed to give it another go.”

“It’s been a real joy. I’m so proud of these players. It’s been amazing, it’s been six years that we have been able to do everything you want to do in a club in a national team and that makes me extremely proud. We love the way this team has played.”

“It has given us incredible joy. It is the time for me to accept that this is the last game.”

Martinez held his most recent position at Everton from 2013 to 2016. He is currently anticipated to take a break before pursuing another club football position.

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