Belgium have crashed out of the World Cup following a 0-0 draw with Croatia, marking a bitter finish for the nation’s so-called “Golden Era” of stars.
Coach Roberto Martinez’s facet, ranked the second greatest on the earth by FIFA, failed to seek out any fluency in Thursday’s conflict on the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and their determined second-half makes an attempt to interrupt the impasse in the end got here to nothing.
Neither facet had a shot heading in the right direction in a dour first half and Belgium introduced on striker Romelu Lukaku on the break, nevertheless it was Croatia who sprang into life, with Marcelo Brozovic and Luka Modric drawing saves from Thibaut Courtois in fast succession.
Lukaku then rattled the put up with a fierce shot from shut vary on the hour mark as Belgium pushed desperately for the objective that may ship them by means of.
He went on to waste a string of goalmouth alternatives because the clock ticked towards full time.
The stalemate left the Crimson Devils stranded in third place in Group F, with Croatia one spot above them and Morocco ending prime of the pile following their 2-1 win over Canada.
The 2018 runners-up will face the winners of Group E – which might be Spain, Japan or Costa Rica – on Monday.
Morocco, who’ve reached the knockout phases for the primary time since 1986, will play the runners-up from Group E, which additionally consists of 4 time champions Germany, the next day.
‘Golden era’s disappointing conclusion
What has lengthy been known as Belgium’s “Golden Era” – now that includes six gamers with greater than 100 appearances – is about to separate with the World Cup semifinal look in 2018 as its peak.
The workforce, which has confronted questions of infighting between gamers throughout the event in Qatar, scored just one objective in three video games and saved its greatest efficiency till its closing match. It got here too late.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, who has been in cost for greater than six years, was requested after the sport if he’ll stay coach.
“Now will not be the second,” he answered.
Extra to observe…