With the Belgian World Cup team returning home after crashing out of the competition, unable to progress to the round of 16, the Red Devil’s star players have begun to express their regret and condolences on social media.
The Belgian national team failed to beat Group F rival Croatia, despite numerous missed chances, ultimately leading the team to return home in defeat. After the early group stage exit by the second best rated World Cup football team, Belgian coach Roberto Martinez also announced that he would step down from the role. This is the first time that Belgium has crashed out of the group stage since 1998.
Madrid team player and Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, expressed his regret at the defeat on Twitter. The Belgian keeper made a series of important saves to keep Belgian in contention for group qualification.
We are sorry for all the fans who are always with us. We can only promise you that we will put all our energy into trying again.Thank you for your support ❤️🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/38cK1snREz — Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) December 2, 2022
“One day later, our elimination from the World Cup still hurts and it will be a while until that feeling goes away… We are sorry for all the fans who are always with us,” the Belgian keeper said.
Belgium’s only goal scorer this cup, player for Turkish team Fenerbahçe- Michy Batshuayi- took to his Instagram account to reflect on the performance of the Belgian team.
“It's disappointing to see our adventure stop so soon. We are sorry to the fans that believed in us. But I know this team and our players have the heart to show our true colours again,” Batshuayi wrote.
The coach was the one to believe in me and give me the chance to play for the Red Devils when I was 18 years old, I’m thankful for all you have done for me. We will be back! 🇧🇪 (2/2) pic.twitter.com/49nz8fwUoG— Jeremy Doku (@JeremyDoku) December 2, 2022
Many of the Red Devil’s team paid tribute to outgoing coach Martinez, thanking him for the “special memories” and his time spent with the team. Jérémy Doku, who made his first appearance on the Belgium World Cup team in Qatar, praised the efforts of his coach on Twitter.
“The coach was the one to believe in me and give me the chance to play for the Red Devils when I was 18 years old. I’m thankful for all you have done for me,” he said.
- Red Devils' brief World Cup stint gives small boost to hospitality sector
- Belgium crash out early from Qatar World Cup
- This week in photos: Elated and deflated World Cup fans
Belgian defender Arthur Theate also spoke of his pride to have participated in the Belgian team and disappointment to have left the competition at an early stage.
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, five members of the team are said to have left Qatar early on earlier flights, paying for the tickets at their own expense. During the competition, some disagreements had occurred between the players. Before their match with Morocco, De Bruyne is reported to have said that Martinez’s squad was “too old” to win the competition.
Belgium’s next fixture will be qualifiers for the Euro 2024 competition in Germany.