Martinez steps down as Belgium manager after WC exit

Martinez steps down as Belgium manager after WC exit

Baku, December 2, AZERTAC

Roberto Martinez is leaving as coach of Belgium’s national team following Thursday’s World Cup exit, according to the AP.

“That was my last game for the national team,” the Spaniard said after a 0-0 draw with Croatia led to the team's elimination from the tournament in Qatar.

Martinez coached Belgium to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup. He was in charge of the team for six years.

Martinez said he made the decision to leave “before the World Cup.”

“I always work in the long term. I believe in the long term,” he said, fighting off tears. “Since 2018, I had many opportunities to leave and take jobs at the club level. But I wanted to stay loyal.

“I am not resigning,” Martinez added. “I’ve reached the end of my contract.”

Martinez’s exit coincides with the likely breakup of Belgium’s “Golden Generation,” an era featuring standout attacking players like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens.

The team was ranked No. 1 by FIFA for four years during Martinez’s tenure but never won a major tournament.

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