Marc Wilmots, Belgium Part Ways: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2016

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots during the Euro 2016 quarterfinal soccer match between Wales and Belgium, at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, France, Friday, July 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

After four years at the helm, Marc Wilmots was sacked as Belgium manager on Friday. 

The Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) announced the move on its official website, terminating a contract that was set to last through 2018. 

Belgium were considered Euro 2016 favourites by many but were eliminated in the quarterfinals by an exciting Wales side.

The RBFA had the following to say regarding the decision to part ways with the 47-year-old and the impending search for a new head coach:

The RBFA's Technical Commission have made an evaluation of the recent UEFA Euro 2016 and have declared that the intended goals have not been reached.

There is a common sense that the team needs a new impulse to lead this group towards a top result at a major tournament.

The Belgian FA will immediately start the procedure to find a new head coach, in a transparent way. The idea is to start the upcoming games in September with a new coach, beginning with an international friendly game in Brussels against Spain on Sept. 1.

Wilmots also released the following statement via the RBFA website:

Today, we have mutually agreed to turn the page. I would like to thank all of you: supporters, players and staff.

During the past four years, we have accomplished great things:

  • From the 54th to the first place in the FIFA Ranking. Today, we are second.
  • 2 qualifications as group winners : 2014 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.
  • Two quarterfinals.
  • We have built a quality group, on football and human level.
  • Enthusiastic supporters for the Belgian Red Devils.
  • We have put Belgium on the world map again.

We can be proud of what we have achieved all together with the players, our supporters and my staff.

Thank you all for these four wonderful years.

The Red Devils impressively won 34 matches and drew eight during Wilmots' 51-match tenure with the national team. FIFA ranks them as the No. 2 team in the world.

Wilmots' results in big tournaments were lacking in comparison to the talent at his disposal, however, including a 2014 World Cup quarterfinal exit.

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News believes Wilmots' departure is long overdue:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Keen to see how Belgium fare at World Cup without Wilmots. Should've gone in 2014, judging by how he struggled to nail down their best XI.

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Belgium's crop of players, including the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De BruyneRomelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany, has been nicknamed the Golden Generation because of their talent. However, Wilmots consistently struggled to get them playing with the shackles off.

A shakeup of the side's structure may provide much-needed refreshment. As Portugal showed at Euro 2016, the opportunity is there for nations to overcome consistent powerhouses such as Spain and Germany.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.


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