Of all the sides who have underperformed at this year's World Cup, Belgium are without doubt the biggest culprits.
There was a sense before the tournament that they were no longer the team that they once were, with many of their most important players well past their best. However, they still had enough talent in their squad to make a decent run in Qatar.
The reality was far different. Having laboured to an undeserved 1-0 win over Canada in their first game, they were well beaten by Morocco in their next fixture. Needing a win against Croatia this afternoon, they could only muster an uninspiring scoreless draw.
Romelu Lukaku is likely to dominate the headlines after the game, with the striker missing a number of golden opportunities that would have handed his team the win and passage into the knockout stages.
🇭🇷 0-0 🇧🇪
It's another chance for Lukaku - but he's failed to find the target. Time running out for the Belgians.
📺Watch live now on @rtenews & @rteplayer : https://t.co/Sfewj1uiKd
📱Live updates: https://t.co/dksP5vHvBU#CROBEL #FIFAWorldCup #RTESoccer pic.twitter.com/9eB0xEswFd
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) December 1, 2022
This result, coupled with Morocco's win over Canada, ensured their elimination from the tournament.
Ireland fans enjoyed Belgium's World Cup exit
While the inquest will now begin into Belgium's shortcomings at the World Cup, there is no doubt that many Ireland supporters seemed to enjoy their exit.
That comes down to a couple of faces in the dugout.
Thierry Henry has had two separate spells under Roberto Martinez as an assistant, returning to the role last year after leaving Montreal Impact. Of course, he is not the most popular figure in this country due to a certain incident back in 2009.
Thierry Henry consoling Belgium players ❤️ pic.twitter.com/wG21anC07P
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 1, 2022
Then you have Anthony Barry. The Englishman had a brief stint with Ireland under Stephen Kenny, although he would abruptly leave the role after receiving an offer from Belgium. The opportunity to coach in a World Cup was said to be the deciding factor in his decision.
That went well for him.
In all, Ireland fans enjoyed seeing Belgium underwhelm at the tournament.
You'd have to feel sorry for the two lads after Belgium's World Cup exit 👀 pic.twitter.com/rTt5RYFvgZ
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 1, 2022
Belgium exit the World Cup at the group stage
Save flight home Thierry 👋 pic.twitter.com/SgCNVDVdlA
— IrishPropaganda🇮🇪⚽️ (@IrishPropaganda) December 1, 2022
The Anthony Barry effect
— The Arsenal Wrap 🇮🇪 (@TheArsenalWrap) December 1, 2022
Everyone in Ireland to Thierry Henry right now 🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/vGQ1E71K7H
— James Fenton (@fentonjames16) December 1, 2022
It’s Thierry Henry I feel sorriest for pic.twitter.com/6PFOFOOVxp
— Aidan McQuade 🇪🇺 (@the_mcquade) December 1, 2022
— padraic mulry (@padraicmulry) December 1, 2022
Thierry Henry looking all sad there... shame. pic.twitter.com/33B811y5qt
— Shaun (@ShaunMickeyTam) December 1, 2022
You’d have to feel for Thierry Henry 😂😂😂
— Mick Reynolds (@ElectricMiknik) December 1, 2022
Anthony Barry aswell 💉💉 pic.twitter.com/D4VmzVWxxD
— •patrick• (@afcpatrick_) December 1, 2022
You'd have to feel for them.
It is highly likely that both Henry and Barry will leave their role with Belgium in the aftermath of this tournament, with Roberto Martinez already announcing that he is stepping down as manager after a six-year spell in charge.