Once again, Belgium has failed. After a failure against Wales at Euro 2016, a bitter defeat against France at the 2018 World Cup and Italy at Euro 2020, the Red Devils finished fourth in the Nations League, behind Italy, Spain and France. “I still find it very cruel to lose this match like that, in the 90th minute, given the first period we achieved, which was of very high quality. It’s really very hard ”, explained Roberto Martinez after the defeat against the Blues, in a press conference.
Because after a promising first period against France, Belgium collapsed over the course of the meeting and quickly gave hope to the tricolors. A situation which does not surprise the Belgian public more than that. The fault in particular to a tactic too predictable and too conservative, according to the local press. Since the departure of Kompany, Fellaini, Nainggolan and Dembélé, Roberto Martinez’s 3-5-2 has run out of competition in competition with in particular an opposing pressing which has often undermined the Belgians in this Final Four.
Roberto Martinez under fire from critics
The national coach will have to justify his choice for preferring Tielemans to Vanaken because the Leicester player has disappointed. “He lost an incredible amount of balls. He was not alone. Castagne contributed little and in defense Alderweireld is finding it more and more difficult to keep up », specifies the media Het Niewsbald. “There was hardly any possession. They even handled the ball awkwardly, which made it easy for the French to create opportunities and win ”.
And the defeat in the match for third place, against Italy (2-1), does not help. The tactical choices of Martinez, who would take too little risk, were particularly criticized because of the absence of De Ketelaere in the midfield, too little used in the selection and that of Lukebakio, often forgotten in favor of Batshuayi in attack. “It is undeniable, Roberto Martinez must reinvent himself, get his players out of a certain comfort zone, perhaps review the system and refresh the core”, precise 7 out of 7.
A golden generation in decline?
Eden Hazard, who had notably made Benjamin Pavard experience a nightmarish evening in the semifinals of the Russian World Cup, struggles to reproduce his differences and still fails to find his best level. In this Final Four, the Madrilenian played only 67 minutes, before coming out against the Blues, in a second period where he seemed to be burnt. The Kevin De Bruyne case is also talking. A true star of the Red Devils, he does not seem as well highlighted as in the system established by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
“Roberto Martinez is very conservative. There is no real controversy over his selections because there were injured people like Jérémy Doku and Zinho Vanheusden, a very promising defender. But he remains convinced that the 3-5-2 is the best tactical scheme. We should try other schemes. The more De Bruyne touches the ball, the stronger Belgium is. I could see him playing lower down, with another striker in front of him ”, specifies Guillaume Raedts, journalist at The evening.
“We say to ourselves that Belgium’s luck has passed”
However, Belgium is close to qualifying for the next 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Roberto Martinez, under contract until this competition, should therefore be kept, but the ambitions seem much more reserved than at the previous World Cup, where Belgium dreamed of going all the way to win their long-awaited first coronation.
“Many players are expected to leave the selection after the CDM. It’s not impossible that Eden Hazard is one of them. It is also unclear whether De Bruyne, Courtois and Lukaku will continue in the long term. I think we will clearly go more in the next tournaments to hope for a trophy. We tell ourselves that Belgium’s luck has passed, if we had had today’s Lukaku in 2018 … it would have been something else, adds Guillaume Raedts. But we have a lot of hopes in Doku, Vanheusden, de Ketelaere and Lokonga and we still have a good current team.“. The 2022 World Cup therefore seems to be the last chance for this golden generation …
The classification of the Nations League scorers
The classification of the passers of the League of Nations