Belgium World Cup 2022 Underperforming Stars Fly Home Separately

Belgium World Cup 2022 Underperforming Stars Fly Home Separately

Martin Moses
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:19 PM
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  • Five Belgium players booked separate flights back home following their shocking exit from the World Cup
  • Squad unity has been a big problem for the Red Devils in Qatar, with multiple stars reading from different scripts
  • Kevin de Bruyne is said to be the instigator, as his 'too old' comments rubbed other players the wrong way

The squad split in Belgium squad took another turn after it emerged that five of its stars had booked separate flights back home.

The lack of unity in the Red Devils camp has been one of the major highlights of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Axel Witsel, Thomas Meunier, Lois Openda, Jeremy Doku, Arthur Theate, Belgium, World Cup 2022, Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard
Belgium players Jan Vertonghen and Axel Witsel celebrate after their loss to Croatia. Photo by Florencia Tan Jun.
Source: Getty Images

It came against the backdrop of poor performances, which eventually led to their early elimination from the completion. Head Coach Roberto Martinez resigned immediately after.

It started with star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne mentioning that the squad was too old to compete for the title. The comments didn't go down well with other members of the squad, with a clash reported in the dressing room after their loss to Morocco.

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Who went separately?

Daily Mail now reports that Axel Witsel, Thomas Meunier, Lois Openda, Jeremy Doku and Arthur Theate booked separate flights back to Brussels. The team was supposed to use the same flight back home, but the five players opted to go their separate ways.

With Martinez gone, it will be a tough rebuild for the new coach, as the majority of the squad that played in Qatar were over thirty years. Thierry Henry, Paul Clement and Vincent Kompany are some of the frontrunners to succeed the Spanish Head Coach.

Where it all went wrong for Belgium

Sports Brief had earlier reported that Belgium's Golden Generation fell short of winning another major title with a shocking group stage exit at the Qatar World Cup.

Roberto Martinez's side were outclassed but survived against Canada, were embarrassed by Morocco, and then frustrated by Croatia. Martinez has since resigned with nothing to show, save for the long periods Belgium were on top of the FIFA rankings.

But before Qatar, the signs were on the wall. The Red Devils were not bringing a dominant team like in 2018. Four years ago, captain Eden Hazard was on top of his game. He was the best player in Russia, apart from Luka Modric. Romelu Lukaku was also a reliable source of goals upfront.

Courtois disagrees with KDB

Sports Brief has also reported that Belgium and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has expressed his disagreement with the claim by Kevin De Bruyne, that Belgium can not win the World Cup because they are too old.

De Bruyne's comments came shortly before the Red Devils were defeated 2-0 by the Atlas Lions of Morocco - a result that leaves them needing results against Croatia if they want to progress.

The end of the road is near for Belgium's so-called golden generation, who despite spending almost four years as number one on FIFA rankings, have no silverware to show for it.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)