Michy Batshuayi has six goals in his last six Belgium appearances
Michy Batshuayi has six goals in his last six Belgium appearances AFP / JOHN THYS


  • Belgium's chances of advancing to the Round of 16 got slimmer after the defeat to Morocco
  • Belgium "played with a fear of losing," according to coach Roberto Martinez
  • Croatia and Morocco are currently poised to enter the knockout stages from Group F

The 2022 edition of the World Cup has brought some shocking surprises this early into the tournament and Belgium was the latest victim of what many on social media consider the "shock of the underdogs."

Belgium had been one of the favorites to get out of Group F as they and Croatia have been pegged to move on to the Round of 16 with relative ease as they only have Canada and Morocco to contend with.

However, thoughts of Morocco being an easy walk-in-the-park opponent were thrown out of the window as they pulled off an improbable 2-0 victory against Belgium in their second match of the group stages.

Belgium national team head coach Roberto Martinez, much like their supporters, is none too pleased with the outcome and said as much during the postgame press conference.

"That is a mindset, I don't think it is a lack of quality. We played a lot better on the ball than we did against Canada and got into really beneficial positions, but then that next pass was missing, that link-up was missing in the final third," Martinez lamented as quoted by BBC.

"We couldn't find that spare man and I think that was because we played with a fear of losing."

Martinez continued to fire bullets at his own team as his frustration with their performance, noting that they have always been striving to find goals by creating their own opportunities after scoring goals in "almost 50 consecutive games."

Fans watching had been waiting throughout the entire game for the breakthrough goal from Belgium as the talented frontline of Kevin De Bruyne, Michy Batshuayi and Youri Tielemans, who entered the game at the 60th minute, along with Romelu Lukaku, were enough to find the back of the net.

However, it was Morocco who struck first when team captain Romain Saiss casually deflected the ball off a free kick from Abdelhamid Sabiri past Thibaut Courtois, whom many deem to be the best goalkeeper in the world, at the 73rd minute to give them the lead.

Sensing danger, Belgium kicked up the pressure to try and hopefully salvage a draw, but the momentum had fully swung in favor of Morocco.

Hakim Ziyech found a trailing Zakaria Aboukhlal with virtually no one around him and fired home the match-winner in the penalty area two minutes into stoppage time.

Martinez's disappointment with his team was echoed by many outside observers as his side had won possession (56 percent to Morocco's 32 percent) as they appeared close to scoring a goal that eventually never materialized.

Currently, Croatia and Morocco are set to advance to the knockout stages of the 2022 World Cup after two games and Belgium's chances of entering the next round appear slim as they face Croatia and their captain in Luka Modric next.

Kevin De Bruyne was among the scorers for Belgium as they beat Wales