Roberto Martinez refuses to comment on Belgium future following Euro 2020 quarter-final exit: ‘It’s too raw’ | Football News

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Roberto Martinez says he will speak about his future at the right time after Belgium were eliminated from Euro 2020 by Italy in Munich on Friday night.

The Red Devils exited the competition at the quarter-final stage, as they did five years ago in France when they were beaten 3-1 by Wales.

Lorenzo Insigne fired the Azzurri into the last four as perennial favourites Belgium were once again cast in the role of bridesmaid.

Martinez signed a contract extension with Belgium last year through to the 2022 World Cup, but the 47-year-old has been linked with a return to club football this summer.

When asked about his future following his side’s 2-1 defeat, Martinez said: “Well, obviously, this is a moment that is very, very difficult to speak anything else than the defeat and that we are out of the Euros.

“As I say, at the moment, it’s still too raw. And I do not want to say anything that it could be (seen as) emotional.

“At the moment, all I want to do is look back into this tournament and I would say that the players have done nothing wrong. It is the opposite.

Romelu Lukaku scored his fourth goal of the tournament
Romelu Lukaku scored his fourth goal of the tournament

“They did everything they could to get us as far as we can (at Euro 2020). And now is the time to analyse and to assess. But, at the moment, the feelings of disappointment and sadness, unfortunately, is what is in my head now.”

Nicolo Barella had fired Roberto Mancini’s side into a 31st-minute lead which Insigne doubled and, although Romelu Lukaku’s penalty in first-half stoppage time had given the Belgians hope, they could not get themselves back on level terms.

Despite Belgium’s best efforts in the second half, Italy extended their unbeaten run to 32 games and became the first team to win 15 consecutive European Championship matches.

Martinez added: “The feelings are what you can imagine, really – sadness and disappointment – because I do not think these players deserve to be out of this tournament.

“They have done an incredible job to be prepared to be ready to go step-by-step every day, from the beginning of the tournament. And unfortunately, today (Friday), we faced a very good side (Italy). I thought it was two very good teams in this knockout phase. And, unfortunately, the margins did not go in our favour.”

The Spaniard revealed that injuries to Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard affected Belgium’s plans ahead of the campaign.

Belgium's Golden Generation fell short in the quarters again
Belgium’s Golden Generation fell short in the quarters again

“The situation with Axel (Witsel) and Kevin (De Bruyne) and Eden (Hazard) going into the tournament, I think we managed it very, very well and you could see the attitude of those players. They started to grow into the tournament and they have been a real bonus. They really helped us from the moment that they could be on the pitch.

“Obviously, injuries happen and it is unfortunate that Eden could not be on the pitch with us (against Italy). But it was exemplary to see Kevin De Bruyne getting through whatever he would, to get 90 minutes with his national team and showing that he was ready to help the group.

“So, I think, for every ‘Red Devil’ fan, there is a real pride and understanding that these players did everything they could to try to get what we wanted to get. And unfortunately today, we faced a very good team (Italy) and, with two good teams, the small margins went for them. And that is a small difference and that happens in football.”

Mancini: The road is still long

Roberto Mancini is staying grounded ahead of the semis
Roberto Mancini is staying grounded ahead of the semis

Roberto Mancini was overjoyed with his Italy team after they withstood a late onslaught from top-ranked Belgium to win 2-1 and set up a Euro 2020 semi-final clash with Spain.

“We deserved to win. The boys were extraordinary in the game,” he said after Friday’s quarter-final triumph in Munich.

“We only suffered in the last 10 minutes because we were really tired, we had spent a lot. But we could have scored a few more goals.”

Italy were deserving of their victory over Belgium
Italy were deserving of their victory over Belgium

Mancini said his players deserved to savour the triumph before thinking about Tuesday’s game against three-times European champions Spain at London’s Wembley Stadium.

“We didn’t have a minimum goal, we wanted to do our best, the road is still long, there are two games to go, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

“Spain? Let’s enjoy this victory, then we’ll think about it. Congratulations to my boys, they were very good.”

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was disappointed but gave credit to the Italians.

“This hits hard, but we knew it was going to be a tough game. We had two opportunities but their keeper made a good save and I think we gave the first goal away a bit too easily,” he said.

“It really could have gone either way, but Italy deserved to win here.”

Richards: Italy deserved the win

Italy will face Spain in the semi-finals on Tuesday
Italy will face Spain in the semi-finals on Tuesday

Sky Sports’ Micah Richards on BBC:

“It’s devastating to see Roberto Martinez like this as he puts so much time and effort into getting results, but it wasn’t to be.

“You have to applaud the Italians. I was split over who I wanted to win today, but Italy in the end fully deserved it. They were magnificent throughout.

“Belgium had their chances but Italy defended so well. Doku was scintillating and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.”

What’s next?

Euro 2020 Semi-finals schedule: Kick-off times and venues

Tuesday July 6

Semi-final 1: Italy vs Spain; Kick-off 8pm (Wembley, London)

Wednesday July 7

Semi-final 2: Ukraine or England vs Czech Republic or Denmark; Kick-off 8pm (Wembley, London)

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