Roberto Martínez to remain in charge of Belgium until 2022

BRUSSELS (AP) – Belgium coach Roberto Martínez signed a new contract to lead the Red Devils at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Belgian federation said on Wednesday that the 46-year-old man Martinez, who has coached Premier League teams Everton and Wigan, will also remain in the position of technical director of the federation for another two years.

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"The crown crisis slowed things down a bit, but the contract extension has been completed and is now official," said the federation.

“This will allow Roberto Martínez to continue his work, lay the foundation for the future of Belgian football and train the person who will succeed him as technical director after the 2022 World Cup. ”

Martinez, who is a former player from Spain, started his coaching career in 2007. He took over Belgium in 2016 as a replacement for Marc Wilmots, who was sacked after the national team was eliminated from the UEFA European Championship that year in the quarterfinals.

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Responsible for a brilliant generation of players, including Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, Martinez guided Belgium to the semifinal at the 2018 World Cup.

"The next two and a half years will be particularly intense for our national team with Euro, the League of Nations, the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup and this final tournament" Martinez said.

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Belgium currently leads the FIFA ranking, ahead of the World Cup holders, France and Brazil. He qualified for the European Championship 2020 with a perfect record of 10 victories, fulfilling his classification as the best-ranked national team in the world, scoring the top 40 goals in the classification and suffering just three.

Belgium was among the favorites of the continental tournament before being postponed to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic,

"With the League of Nations League, the European Championship and the 2022 World Cup, it will probably be the most important years in our football history," said Peter Bossaert, CEO of the association.

“We wanted to do everything we could so that our team could start this cycle in optimal conditions. With Roberto, we maintain not only a top coach, a true gentleman, but also the ideal ambassador for Belgian football. "

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