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Roberto Martinez agrees to become new Portugal manager, following World Cup failure

Ryan Sidle

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Roberto Martinez agrees to become new Portugal manager, following World Cup failure

Roberto Martinez is set to become the new manager of the Portugal national team, despite his failure at the World Cup with Belgium.

The former Wigan Athletic manager had been in charge of the Belgium side for the previous six years, following their failure at the Euros in 2016.

To many, Martinez 'wasted' Belgium's 'golden generation', in the same way that predecessor Marc Wilmots did, failing to win any silverware.

That was most evident at the World Cup at the end of last year, as they crashed out of the group stages following their loss to Morocco and draw with Croatia, the latter after Romelu Lukaku missed four late chances to win the game.

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The failure to make it out of the group stages saw the end of Martinez as Belgium boss, with fans believing his literally moonwalked out of the job.

Whilst the Belgian FA have gone about finding his replacement, the Spaniard has clearly been hard at work looking for his next job as well.

Now it seems that he'll be remaining in international football, with The Athletic's David Ornstein reporting that he already has a verbal agreement with Portugal.

According to the report, the deal is expected to officially be signed next week, making him in charge of the national team that Fernando Santos left following the World Cup.

Santos left the Portugal job after their defeat by Morocco. Image: Alamy
Santos left the Portugal job after their defeat by Morocco. Image: Alamy

Santos also left his role following elimination from the tournament in Qatar at the hands of Morocco, though they at least reached the quarter-finals.

The former Portugal boss had been in charge of the national team for the previous eight years and won the Euros in 2016, defeating hosts France in the final.

However, he has often been criticised for his style of football and his inability to get the best out of a talented group of attacking players, especially in Qatar.

He decided to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for the last 16 game against Switzerland, and it certainly worked, with replacement Goncalo Ramos scoring a hat-trick in a 6-1 battering.

Ronaldo came off the bench against Morocco but made no difference to the game, but Santos still came in for some criticism for dropping the 37-year-old after the game.

Martinez may need to answer the huge question of whether the forward keeps playing for the national team, especially now he's only playing in the Saudi Pro League.

Martinez walks on the pitch following the draw to Croatia. Image: Alamy
Martinez walks on the pitch following the draw to Croatia. Image: Alamy

The former Swansea City midfielder has been considered a failure by many with Belgium's incredible talent but he may feel that it's a bit of a harsh assessment.

Belgium were excellent at the 2018 World Cup in beating a much fancied Brazil in the quarter-finals but narrowly lost to eventual champions France in the semis, not exactly a terrible failure.

Two years later, at the Euros, they were again one of the favourites but were beaten by Italy in the quarter-finals, the Italians also went on to win the competition, so not exactly the easiest side.

Of course, in Qatar it was a huge failure, even if Kevin de Bruyne did claim that the team were too old, with Martinez failing to get the best out of the Manchester City star and others.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Roberto Martinez, Portugal, Belgium, Football World Cup

Ryan Sidle
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