The Red Devils of Courtois, Hazard, De Bruyne or Lukaku dreamed of a first trophy on Sunday. They have once again fallen back to earth. First against the world champions, France, Thursday (3-2). Then against the European champions, Italy, Sunday (2-1), for the match for the 3e 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.
Martinez “by default”?
Or, 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.
For the first time since taking office in 2016, coach Roberto Martinez went out of his way at a press conference after the defeat against 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. 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’s 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 are beaten by the European champion (Italy) but we created more chances. Sometimes you have to look further than 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 criticisms born after the defeat against France on Thursday. “Martinez: stop or else? “, Headlined several Belgian dailies.
De Bruyne: “We are only Belgium”
“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, on the impression that there are plenty of people who dare not talk about Martinez. He had a World Cup, a Euro, the Nations League, and it didn’t work, ”found Nordin Jbari the former Anderlecht and Bruges striker, a converted consultant.
This wave of criticism arises while Kevin De Bruyne, playmaker of the Devils, believes that it is necessary to put the results in perspective: “We are only Belgium, with a smaller pool than France or Italy which benefits of a workforce of 22 “top” players, which is not our case ”.
Anyway, Martinez should stay at the helm until Qatar-2022, “a bit by default”, according to the newspaper The evening. Because the potential candidates for the succession of the Spaniard are not legion even if the name of Michel Preud’homme is sometimes mentioned.