Qatar World Cup

December 1, 2022

World Cup 2022: Roberto Martinez steps down as Belgium manager after shocking World Cup exit

By Efosa Taiwo

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has announced he won’t be continuing his role as the team’s manager after a shocking group-stage exit at the World Cup.

Martinez told reporters his contract would not be renewed following the tournament, but said he had “not resigned”.

In a statement, the Belgian FA thanked Martinez for his six years of service but expressed disappointment over crashing out at the group stage in Qatar.

The statement reads: “We are extremely disappointed after the early exit of our national team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar because we have failed and thereby let down the people of Belgium who supported our team all the way through.

“An era and a cycle have come to an end. Today the ways of our coach Roberto Martinez and the Royal Belgian FA will part.

“We are very grateful and proud that we have worked with Roberto Martinez for more than six years.”

Martinez had guided Belgium to their best ever World Cup performance which was a third-placed finish at Russia in 2018.

The Red Devils ended the tournament as top scorers with what has been considered a ‘golden generation’ for the country.

However, they failed to build on that success and were knocked out of Euro 2020 in the quarter-finals by Italy.

They arrived in Qatar second in the FIFA rankings but a shock defeat to Morocco and a goalless draw against Croatia saw them eliminated in the group stages for the first time since 1998, having scored just one goal.

Reflecting on his time as Belgium manager, Martinez described it as amazing and says that he has to accept that it is all over.

“Yes, that was my last game. It has been six years,” he told reporters. “I arrived with the clear idea of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Then we became so engaged with the project and won a bronze medal. I’m so proud of these players. It has been amazing.

“It has been six years where we’ve been able to do everything you want to do. The team has played and given people real joy. But this is the time for me to accept [it is over]. I don’t resign. It’s the end of my contract.

“Since 2018 I had many opportunities to leave and take jobs at club level, but I wanted to stay loyal.”