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‘Belgium embarrassing, not a golden generation’ – Courtois delivers scathing assessment of another failed bid for silverware

12:27 AM IST 05/12/22
Thibaut Courtois Belgium 2022 World Cup
Belgium cannot be considered to have enjoyed a “golden generation”, says Thibaut Courtois, with an “embarrassing” exit endured at the 2022 World Cup.
  • Red Devils out early at 2022 World Cup
  • Ageing squad without a major honour
  • Real Madrid keeper will be playing on

WHAT HAPPENED? Despite having the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku at their disposal, the Red Devils have failed to get their hands on a major international honour. Roberto Martinez, who has since fallen on his sword, oversaw a humbling group stage departure from Qatar 2022 and Courtois admits that this group of Belgian players have done little more than underachieve.

WHAT THEY SAID: The Real Madrid goalkeeper has said: “In this World Cup and in the Euro we were not ourselves, it is a bit embarrassing. We will see what will happen, who will stay, who will not stay. Football, it's going fast. In March there are already qualifying matches for the Euros. It's hard to call yourself a 'Golden Generation' when you don't win anything. We are not a golden generation, we are a generation with a lot of talent and great players from all over Europe. We showed in Russia 2018 that we were a Belgium that played good football.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: De Bruyne conceded during Belgium’s poor showing in the Middle East that a star-studded squad is now “too old” to compete for prestigious prizes, but Courtois is only 30 and believes he will be back for more when the World Cup heads to the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026. He added: “Yes, that is my goal. We still have a good generation and there are players who will join. I hope that when I stop playing with the Red Devils it will be at a good time, not now.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Belgium will open their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign against Sweden on March 24, 2023, before going on to face Austria, Estonia and Azerbaijan in their other Group F fixtures.