World Cup

Romelu Lukaku missed numerous opportunities and hit the post as Belgium’s “golden generation” was eliminated from the World Cup. However, the 2018 runners-up Morocco and Group F champions Croatia advanced thanks to their 0-0 draw with Croatia.

In third place four years ago and number one in the world rankings until recently, Roberto Martinez’s team struggled to keep up in Qatar. Despite a second-half improvement that gave Romelu Lukaku several scoring opportunities, they were unable to secure the victory they required as Morocco defeated Canada.

The goalkeeper was beat to a loose ball by Josko Gvardiol from a similar distance after halftime substitution Lukaku shot against the inside of the post with the goal gaping, headed over from a Kevin De Bruyne cross, flicked wide from close range, chested the ball to the goalkeeper from inside the six-yard box, and flicked wide from close range.

At the end of the game, Belgium’s all-time leading scorer sobbed in the arms of coach Thierry Henry before furiously punching a panel out of the dugout. However, his teammates had once again performed poorly, with only a very close, later-reviewed offside call preventing Croatia from receiving a penalty in the first half and Thibaut Courtois being put to the test in the second.

Martinez had benched captain Eden Hazard amid rumors of unrest in the Belgian team following their 2-0 humiliation by Morocco in their previous group game, but there was no addition to the team’s lone goal in this group stage.

This talented group of Belgian footballers may have missed their chance to win trophies because 15 of their 26 players at the competition were 29 years old or older.

Croatia is at least still in the fight with a matchup against the group winner of Group E, which Spain is now leading, but they will need to significantly improve if they are to repeat their run to the final in Russia.

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