Belgium’s golden generation ends as Lukaku missed big chances

It’s official, Belgium is eliminated from the 2022 World Cup after a goalless draw against Croatia. This is the first time that they failed to progress to the knockout stages of the tournament since 1998. On the other side, Croatia progressed from the group stage for the second time. You may visit us for World Cup soccer match news and analysis here!

The ranked No.2 in the World is going home with a third-place group finish in their baggage. Romelu Lukaku missed a series of big chances in the second half that could seal the deal for the Red Devils to the knockouts. This is an embarrassing tournament for Belgium, to add onto the frustrations, Roberto Martinez announced that he stepped down from his position as national team manager. You can get accurate data to help on your betting with today match prediction site here!

After the game, it was seen that Lukaku broke down and threw a fist at the panel in the dugout, he was comforted by Thierry Henry. With an average age of 31, this Belgian squad is very promising of dominating the tournament after finishing third in the 2018 edition. For coach Martinez, this 2022 World Cup is the final chapter of the golden generation of Belgium’s football. 

In a post-match interview, Martinez still believes in Belgium and that the team can go home with its “heads held high.”

“It’s not easy to win games in the World Cup. We weren’t ourselves in the first game, we had a deserved defeat in the second game,” Martinez told reporters. “Today, we were ready, we created opportunities and, today, there are no regrets. We’re out, but we can leave with our head held high.”

On the other side, Croatia are also struggling throughout the tournament, despite qualifying for the last 16, the team is obviously needed to have a significant improvement if they are aiming to replicate their Cinderella run in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

The End of a so-called ‘GOLDEN GENERATION.’

This is officially the last dance of the proclaimed ‘golden generation’ of football Belgium. With many from the Belgium squad over the age of 29 — the Qatar 2022 was seen by many football fans as the final stage for Belgium to end their drought and win the international title. 

Despite having a lot of talented star players on the squad, it is very undeniable that the team struggles due to old age. In fact, Belgium’s star player Kevin De Bruyne said that they had “no chance” to win the title because the players are “too old.”

This major factor was very obvious in the second half when Belgium have a lot of possessions with sub Lukaku have a lot of chances, while Belgium increased their tempo, but still was not enough to send the ball at the back of the net and just went straight into the arms of Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic.

As the time ticked to its end, Belgium still had two massive opportunities to book their ticket to the knockouts, and still wasted the opportunities as Croatia walk-away with a draw and a place to the Round of 16 with Morocco, while Belgium suffered the most disappointing international tournament. 

Coach Martinez was asked if the failure in this tournament marked the end of Belgium’s golden generation and he said, “You see Youri Tielemans and other young players – the golden generation is doing something that is bringing the next generation on. It’s not what names are on the pitch, the legacy can be left in many ways.” Martinez added, “We wanted to get through but I’m sure the other national teams wanted to get through and that’s the tournament.”

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