‘They’ve been REALLY poor’: Alan Shearer and Jermaine Jenas lay into Belgium after their miserable World Cup exit… insisting it was ‘a tournament too much’ for Roberto Martinez’s ageing golden generation
- Belgium crashed out of the World Cup after drawing 0-0 with Croatia in Group F
- Alan Shearer and Jermaine Jenas believe they only have themselves to blame
- Both pundits said the ‘golden generation’ of Belgian stars ‘weren’t good enough’
- Shearer criticised Roberto Martinez for not involving more youngsters in Qatar
- Morocco topped Group F while Croatia went through to the last 16 as runners-up
Belgium only have themselves to blame after their shock elimination from the World Cup, pundits Alan Shearer and Jermaine Jenas have claimed.
Roberto Martinez’s side endured a frustrating 0-0 draw against Croatia on Thursday, forcing Belgium’s talented crop of stars including Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois to bow out of the tournament.
As Croatia celebrated qualifying for the knockouts behind Group F winners Morocco, Lukaku broke down in tears alongside his sympathetic assistant manager Thierry Henry, having missed a hatful of glorious chances throughout the stalemate.
Alan Shearer insisted that Belgium ‘only have themselves to blame’ after their World Cup exit
But Shearer and Jenas urged after the defeat that Lukaku was not entirely to blame for the Belgians’ exit, insisting they ‘weren’t good enough to go through’ from the very start of the tournament.
Jenas, who was commentating on the match for BBC, said: ‘They have not been good enough throughout the campaign, it is a team of distraught players.
‘When they look at themselves in the mirror, they weren’t good enough.
‘They threw everything at it in the end but the experience of this Croatia side just about got them over the line.’
Jermaine Jenas – who was on commentary – said Belgium ‘weren’t good enough to go through’
Shearer added in the studio: ‘Lukaku has only played 31 minutes since August and he is nowhere near fit. They can only look at themselves, they have been miles off, from where they were four years ago to now. They tried and created a few chances. But it was too little to late. They are out.
‘They have scored one goal from 33 shots across three games. They weren’t good enough to go through.
‘They have been really poor. I get what [Martinez] is trying to say because he couldn’t retire all those experienced players coming into this World Cup.
‘He had to involve them for what they have done for Belgium. He knew it would be the last tournament for several of them. It was a tournament too much.
Shearer criticised manager Roberto Martinez for not picking more young players in his squad
Star man Kevin De Bruyne admitted that Belgium were ‘too old’ to win the World Cup last week
‘He should have involved some of the younger players. He says they have no regrets, but I am sure he will have. They didn’t deserve to go through.
‘He had to involve some of those players with well over 100 caps. They have to be in charge of their career and when it ends at international level. This tournament went on too long for some of those players.’
Belgium assistant Thierry Henry was left to console Romelu Lukaku after the match
Star man De Bruyne caused unrest within the Belgian camp during the first week of the tournament, when he suggested that his country could not win the World Cup because Martinez’s squad was ‘too old’.
Despite the manager’s attempts to quell rumours of a divided camp, Eden Hazard admitted ‘words had been spoken’ after De Bruyne’s claims, following the Man City star’s apparent clash with Toby Alderweireld against Canada.
According to Shearer, veterans should know when to take a backseat and hand younger players opportunities.
He said: ‘You have to have players ready to push people through. I have seen [Wout] Faes play for Leicester in the Premier League and he is better than what they have got defensively. And he hasn’t had a look in.
‘In the first game they didn’t play well, even though they won. They had a 20-minute spell here. There has to be a problem within that squad and it has been pretty clear what it is.’