League of Nations – “Do you still believe in us?” : In Belgium, the crisis of confidence is setting in …

The alarm bells have been sounded in Belgium: after the failures in the League of Nations and during the recent Euro last summer, the golden generation risks remaining only a generation full of failed promises. The Red Devils of Courtois, Hazard, De Bruyne or Lukaku dreamed of a first trophy on Sunday. The most optimistic Belgian fans have fallen back to earth to the point of questioning the solidity of the position of coach Roberto Martinez.

Because the men of the Catalan coach have fallen. First against the world champions, France, Thursday (3-2). Then against the European champions, Italy, Sunday (2-1), for the match for 3rd place. This League of Nations has highlighted a recurrence: Belgium, yet number one in the Fifa rankings for more than three years, struggles to win against the great nations of the round ball. If we except a spectacular success in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup against Brazil, the dazzles against teams of the world’s top 10 were rather rare.

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However, to win a title, you have to beat the best. A sort of fatalism has therefore won over the Flat Country. “Do you still believe in us?“, asked openly on Saturday winger Yannick Carrasco, annoyed by the editorials of a press which now seems to be losing patience after having adored this rather brilliant generation since 2014.”We believe in it!“, insisted the Atletico Madrid player.

For the first time since taking office in 2016, Martinez went out of his way at a press conference after the loss to Italy, far from his usual calm. The Spaniard does not seem to want to abandon the ship now in the midst of a storm as rumors regularly send him to Barça or to the new rich of Newcastle.

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On the contrary, “El Senor” Roberto appeared more combative than ever, responding to the attacks which he is increasingly the object of, in particular on his tactical capacities to sublimate his team. “It is not a tactical change that will make the difference. It’s the animation that counts“, he replied to those who consider him too rigid, even stubborn.”We were beaten by the European champion (Italy) but we created more chances. Sometimes you have to look beyond the only result“, he got annoyed in front of Belgian journalists dumbfounded, them who had never seen the ex-coach of Everton so tense.

An attitude which can no doubt be explained by the media criticism born after the defeat against France on Thursday. “Martinez: stop or else?“, headlined several Belgian dailies.”It’s time for professionals to start analyzing Martinez’s work. In France, Didier Deschamps was world champion, he missed the Euro and was massacred. We here have the impression that there are plenty of people who don’t dare talk about Martinez. He had a World Cup, a Euro, the Nations League, and it didn’t work out“, noted Nordin Jbari the former striker of Anderlecht and Bruges, reconverted consultant.

This wave of criticism arises as Kevin De Bruyne, playmaker for the Devils, believes that the results must be put into perspective: “We are only Belgium, with a smaller pool than France or Italy which have a workforce of 22 ‘top’ players, which is not our case.“. Regardless, Martinez is expected to remain at the helm until Qatar 2022,”a little by default“, according to the newspaper Le Soir. Because the possible candidates for the succession of the Spaniard are not legion even if the name of Michel Preud’homme is sometimes mentioned.

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