Brussels (AFP) – Former Everton and Wigan coach Spaniard Roberto Martinez has been given the enviable task of leading Belgium’s multi-talented national side to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, The Belgian federation said Wednesday.
The 43-year-old Spaniard known for building flair sides with a penchant for attack, takes over from the unpopular coach Marc Wilmots, who was fired after a quarter-finals elimination by Wales at Euro 2016.
2006 World Cup winning coach Marcelo Lippi applied for the job, as did recently fired Roma coach Rudi Garcia, so the appointment of Martinez comes as a surprise.
Belgium’s battering ram striker Romelu Lukaku played under Martinez at Everton while ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois and attacking midfielders Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne are the envy of many international managers.
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