Roberto Martinez looks back on Mondial des Diables: ‘After the friendly against Egypt I knew we weren’t ready’

He is the scapegoat for the premature elimination of the Red Devils at the World Cup in 2022. In place since 2016, Roberto Martinez decided to throw in the towel minutes after the fateful split against Croatia to let another coach try to breathe new life into this Belgian core. With the necessary hindsight, the Spanish coach long returned to this 2022 World Cup at HLN’s microphone.

“If I still have this match against Croatia stuck in my throat ?” he asks immediately.No, it is the match against Morocco that will still haunt me for a long time. We weren’t ourselves. Kinda like against Canada for that matter. We weren’t at state to win those meets. Against Croatia it was different. We are probably the team that has created the most chances against the Croatians. You won’t find any tactical or technical expert who will be able to explain to you why we haven’t scored in the last half hour. A matter of millimeters…”

Our Dutch-speaking colleague then asks if it is correct to say that the Devils have shown two faces in Qatar. Once is not the custom, Martinez comes out of his eternal reserve and agrees: “It’s just, yeah” he confides before trying to find explanations : “In 2018 we had three preparation matches. Not this time. Several countries used this group stage as preparation. It was the price to pay for a tournament in the winter. Unfortunately we needed two matches to be ready. In 2018 already felt at the airport , that the team was ready. Emotionally and tactically. Here I felt it just two days before the match against Croatia. After the match against Egypt I felt that we were not ready. Nothing was going well for us…”

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