World Cup 2022 Belgium 0-2 Morocco: Three things we learnt

Belgium suffered a shock defeat to Morocco in what is the first time De Rode Duveils lost to an African side at the FIFA World Cup. Roberto Martinez labelled this result as a “difficult” one but with inconsistencies still on display for all to see from the Canada match, questions will have to be asked as to how he will address them when they play Croatia.

It was yet another lacklustre performance with no signs of improvement from the Canada win – which Martinez conceded the North American side were the better team on the day. Organisation in the midfield and defence were not at the same level we have seen in the past while the Michy Batshuayi back-up plan is clearly not working as much as some hoped for.

1. Still no answer going forward

The way Belgium played right before the second goal made it feel like they were playing a friendly than a crucial World Cup group stage match – especially one where they are trailing. Once Morocco got control of the ball, Belgium’s defensive organisation were not there as Hakim Ziyech sets up the winner to give the Atlas Lions a famous win. It is surprising to say that considering the attacking talent Belgium has at their disposal.

2. Michy Batshuayi and Kevin De Bruyne’s partnership is not working

Romelu Lukaku came on for a 10-minute cameo but it is clear to see there is no answer when their main striker is still recovering from injuries. The link up between Batshuayi and De Bruyne is nowhere near the same level as it is when Lukaku plays. Martinez needs to find a solution to this quickly but the usual plan B of Eden Hazard supporting does not seem to be a solid solution now either given his current form too.

3. Changes in Belgium’s starting XI are a must

There are plenty of players on the bench who will be itching to prove to Martinez they deserve a place in the starting lineup. Their bench featured the likes of Dries Mertens, Yannick Carrasco, Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker all who have showed decent spells throughout the season to provide a case that maybe they should start against Croatia. The midfield needs changing drastically as the lack of organisation made it so easy for Morocco to counter throughout the match.

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