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Belgium

Martinez slams 'fake stories' amid reports of Belgium dressing room bust-up

16:49 GMT 30/11/2022
Roberto Martinez Belgium 2022
Roberto Martinez has rubbished rumours of a bust-up in the Belgium dressing room, labelling them "fake stories".
  • Belgium sit third in Group F
  • Talk of unrest in camp
  • Martinez labelled rumours "fake stories"

WHAT HAPPENED? Belgium's lacklustre start to the World Cup had led to reports of a dressing room bust up between Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen. However, the players have since come out denying these rumours, and their words were echoed by their manager during his press conference previewing the Red Devils' must-win match against Croatia on Thursday.

WHAT THEY SAID: "There are media that like to jump on fake and negative stories instead of supporting the most talented team in the history of Belgian football," Martínez told reporters. "I don't know where those stories come from or who brings them out. But that person scored an own goal for Belgium instead of supporting his country. We are here in Qatar to achieve our goal. Hopefully the real fans can still enjoy it."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Belgium are facing their first group stage exit from the World Cup since 1998, as the nation's so-called 'Golden Generation' nears its end. Martinez's side sit third in Group F behind Croatia and Morocco, after falling to a shock 2-0 defeat to the latter on matchday two.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Belgium have lost seven of their last 19 matches in all competitions (W9 D3), as many defeats as they’d suffered across their previous 74 games combined (W57 D10).

WHAT NEXT FOR BELGIUM? The Red Devils' stuttering form means they need nothing less than a win in Thursday's match against Croatia in order to qualify for the last 16.