The Golden Generation. It is a tag that has weighed heavily on several international teams in recent years, including Belgium.
Many England fans will argue that their so-called Golden Generation of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and associated underachievers should have won a major tournament.
However, Belgium have wasted a group of better players, with the likes of Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne likely to end their careers without winning on the international stage.
On paper, three quarter-finals (World Cup 2014 and European Championships 2016 & 2020) and one semi-final (World Cup 2018) is not a bad return for Belgium.
They went into the 2022 World Cup as one of the favourites to lift the trophy but are in danger of exiting the tournament at the group stage.
While some pundits seem surprised by Belgium’s demise, their struggles in Qatar are no real surprise to people who have been paying attention.
Having laid the foundations to succeed at international level, the decision to appoint Roberto Martinez as manager was a major error.
The warning signs about Martinez were clear for everyone to see towards the end of his time in charge of Everton, but Belgium ignored them.
Martinez has a solid Plan A. However, when this doesn’t work, he does not have a Plan B to fall back on. Ultimately, this has cost Belgium dearly.
His deficiencies have come to the fore again in Qatar. His team were lucky to beat Canada and were deservedly defeated by Morocco.
When Belgium needed to shake things up in both games, Martinez has been found wanting. He’s made De Bruyne look ordinary, and that is a major crime.
Belgium can still qualify for the round of 16 by beating Croatia in their final group game. It would be a brave move to back them to achieve the feat.
Flower it up any way you like – unless Belgium somehow get their act together, they’ll end another major tournament empty-handed.
Given what we have seen during his time in charge of Belgium, it is difficult not to think that Martinez is a busted flush as a top-level coach.
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