Fail but Fail better. Belgium’s golden generation and a night to forget.

– Boria Majumdar from Doha

“Ever tried. Ever Failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

We will never know if anyone from the Belgium team management used these words from Beckett in the dressing room at the end of what was a disastrous night. Perhaps they did not. But the team did exactly what Beckett had suggested. They tried and failed. Failed poorly in fact. If you consider the chances missed by Lukaku alone, it was a disaster of sorts. Tried against Morocco and failed and it was the same again last night against Croatia. Is it the fear of failure that is holding them back? If you had seen the body language of coach Martinez and Thierry Henry, you would understand what I mean. 

The Belgians were battling two enemies simultaneously with the second no less potent and more powerful at times. They were fighting demons in their own mind. The first sign of victory is evident when the mind is at peace with the job at hand. For Belgium it never happened. They weren’t great in the first half but as Beckett suggested they tried and as a team were expected to fail better in the second half.

With the supply line doing better and keeping them in the hunt, Lukaku and the boys had a final chance at redemption. Deep down that’s when things should have changed. Some of them got blown away by the mounting pressure and stepped back an inch. It was a scared team on show. That’s where the opportunity was lost.

The momentum gained after hitting the post was for a time carried forward into the last part of the match and it was time to push home the advantage. But yet again there was a moment of reckoning. Lukaku with an open goal. He has scored goals like these a million times in his career. Not last night. That’s sport for you. Real not reel. No retakes. No second chance. 

Could they try harder and fail better? Or better still can they comeback and emerge winners going forward? Euro is a year and a half away and can Belgium regroup? Questions that can go on to define their careers going forward. How strong are they when the opposition decides to have a go and it comes off? More for KDB, what impact will this campaign have on him going forward? And even if he failed, could he fail better at least? Does he have the mental steel left to succeed for his country? For someone who went to Qatar in red hot form the job was a tad more difficult. All of a sudden scoring goals or setting them up was proving hard and as a senior player, it is only natural KDB must have felt the pressure. 

Belgium might yet again lose the Euros in 2024. KDB might yet again fail. But these things will matter less to the fans. So we hope. For they will try again. And try harder. And even when they fail they will pick themselves up to try and fail better. That’s what a fan wants. That failure isn’t feared anymore. 

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