Belgium coach Martinez to leave after WC exit

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has confirmed he will leave his role following his team’s early exit from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Thursday.

Belgium were eliminated from the group stage following a 0-0 draw with Croatia, finishing third behind the Croatians and group winners Morocco. A victory in their final group match would have been enough to send Belgium into the round of 16.

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“My situation is very clear. This is the end for me,” Martinez told a news conference.

“Whatever the result of this tournament, I took the decision before the World Cup. It’s all about long term. Since 2018, I could have taken many jobs. I don’t resign, it’s just ending like this.”

Martinez took charge of Belgium in 2016, succeeding Marc Wilmots. The Spaniard — formerly coach of Everton, Wigan Athletic and Swansea City — guided a so-called “golden generation” of Belgian talent to a third-place finish in the 2018 World Cup and a quarterfinal elimination from Euro 2020.

Information from ESPN’s Julien Laurens was used in this report.

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