What a disappointment: World Cup ends in groups for Red Devils, despite great chances Lukaku | 2022 FIFA World Cup

The World Cup of the Red Devils is already over. In a compelling match against Croatia, the Belgians remained standing, but they also failed to score. Romelu Lukaku missed a huge opportunity four times. Was this the end of our Golden Generation?

Croatia-Belgium in a nutshell:

  • Key moment: Only after the contribution of Romelu Lukaku in the second half do the Red Devils prepare something in the front. He does not get the ball in goal four times, so that the Belgians have to leave the tournament.
  • Man of the Match: The young Josko Gvardiol almost single-handedly kept the Croatians in the game in the slot. The 20-year-old central defender will have the European top clubs to choose after this World Cup.
  • Notable (I): For the first time in the 21st century, the Red Devils have failed to survive the group stage of a major tournament (European / World Cup). Unacceptable for the number 2 in the world.
  • Notable (II): In three group games, the Belgians only scored one goal. It has been since 1938 that the Red Devils scored so little at a World Cup.

Watch the full match on VRT MAX

Has a starting eleven of the Red Devils ever been under such scrutiny as the one against Croatia?

The ball was in Roberto Martinez’s court, who was not afraid to make daring choices. Suddenly there was a base place for Dries Mertens and Leandro Trossard, Yannick Carrasco and Axel Witsel also gained confidence.

Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku? Jokers for the second half.

It was a gamble where the dime almost fell wrong after barely 8 seconds. Perisic immediately shot an opportunity about a meter wide. Within the same opening minutes, the Croats showed up again dangerously – without danger.

Detractors are already sharpening their knives, believers saw that the Devils were still alive.

And around fifteen minutes even forced good opportunities for an opening goal. There was a shot from Carrasco, but above all a huge chance for Mertens. De Bruyne finally sent such a typical splitting pass to the pocket striker. Only Mertens could not disguise a lack of high form: his place ball disappeared far over.


Especially when a few minutes later – we were still the opening quarter – Croatia got a penalty. Another unfortunate mistake by Carrasco in the box.

Fortunately, a light started flashing in the VAR control room. The offside machine had seen offside which was actually not visible to the naked eye.

We – unlike the football romantics – did not complain.

Lukaku as joker

After an amazing opening phase, a relative calm fell over the match. Despite the control at the Croats, the Devils went to rest 0-0.

It Perfect Plan van Martinez was still on schedule. Enter the first joker: Romelu Lukaku – once again the savior of the fatherland?

On the instructions of his blood brother KDB, this immediately resulted in a header opportunity. On the other side, Courtois had to save three times. In his hundredth match, the jubilee would not be knocked out.

Only the Devils still had to score themselves.

How often will that one moment in minute 60 still haunt Belgian heads in the future?

De Bruyne perfectly isolated Carrasco in front of goal, but he again collided with Livakovic. The difficult rebound curled Lukaku full on the post.

Last Dance has become slow

Would there be more opportunities like this?

So yes. Five minutes before the end, a cross from Meunier via Lukaku unfortunately went wide. And in minute 90 there was the moment of substitute Thorgan Hazard. Romelu had to push him in, but decided without a chance with his chest.

You can’t simply erase months without competition rhythm…

Symptomatic for the World Cup of the Red Devils. Too many key players did not reach their top level. Two completely below average and one excellent performance: far too little.

Qatar was not a graceful last dance of the Golden Generation, but a slow one that regularly stepped on toes.

What will the future of our national team – without Martinez, it turned out – look like when the first disappointment has subsided?

Croatia national coach: “We suffered and were lucky”

National coach Zlatko Dalic made no secret of the fact that his Croatia escaped elimination. “It was a very difficult match. We knew that Belgium could not play 3 bad matches in a row.”

“We conceded some chances, but were lucky that they were not finished. We never speculated on a draw, wanted to win. Now we have to recover, because we are tired.”

  1. second half, minute 97. The World Cup will therefore continue without the Belgians. Morocco is group winner in group F, Croatia is second in the round of 16. .
  2. second half, minute 96. It is not today that the Belgians lost the qualification. The second half was one to leave the tournament with his head held high. Peter Vandenbempt.
  3. second half, minute 96. The second half of the Belgians was much better than the first. A goal (from Lukaku) was in the air, but it was not to be. .
  4. second half, minute 95. Lukaku is inconsolable. The Golden Generation of Belgians is inconsolable. Lukaku is bent over sobbing, Henry tries to comfort him. .
  5. second half, minute 95 match over
  6. second half, minute 94. End World Cup! The Belgians failed to score in the second half. It remained 0-0 and that means that the World Cup of the Belgians is over after the group stage. .
  7. second half, minute 94. Kroat saves the furniture just in front of Lukaku.

    Croat saves the furniture just in front of Lukaku

  8. second half, minute 93. The final minute has now started. It seems to remain 0-0. .
  9. second half, minute 93. Gvardiol saves Croatia! The Belgians keep coming now. Gvardiol must do everything he can to prevent Lukaku from scoring. What a great defensive move from the 20-year-old.  .
  10. second half, minute 92. Replacement at Croatia, Lovro Majer in, Mateo Kovacic out
  11. second half, minute 92. Lukaku can’t believe it himself either. Peter Vandenbempt.
  12. second half, minute 91. Lukaku is shot again. His 69th goal had always taken Belgium to the 1/8th finals of the World Cup. .
  13. second half, minute 91. Where’s the added time when you need it? We now only add 4 minutes. .
  14. second half, minute 91. Lukaku misses a monster chance in the end.

    Lukaku misses a monster chance in the slot

  15. second half, minute 91. Lukaku right! Ai ai ai. Lukaku once again gets an excellent chance to open the score, but his belly does not get the ball in. Livakovic picks up. .
  16. second half, minute 89. Livakovic easily reads a free kick from De Bruyne. The added time is in sight. .
  17. second half, minute 88. The Croats have been satisfied with the draw for a while now. If everything stays as it is now, Morocco will actually be group winner.  .
  18. second half, minute 88. Lukaku deviates the ball just wide.

    Lukaku deviates the ball just wide

  19. second half, minute 87. It should not be for the Belgians. Peter Vandenbempt.
  20. second half, minute 87. Replacement for Belgium, Eden Hazard in, Thomas Meunier out