Belgium coach Aime Anthuenis has been handed a vote of confidence by the Belgian FA despite his team’s 2-0 defeat by Serbia & Montenegro on Wednesday that all but scupppered their chances of reaching the 2006 World Cup.

“How can we get rid of someone who committed no mistake at all in his work and still has the confidence of his players?” Belgian FA president Jan Peeters told a news conference on Thursday.

“No, we must go on and try to win every game we play”.

“We don’t want to get rid of Aime,” added Karel Vertongen, president of the Belgian FA’s technical committee. “We have no reason to stop working together”.

Anthuenis is under contract until the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but this second defeat in three qualifying games after their campaign began with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Lithuania in Charleroi followed by a 2-0 loss in Spain and they are now second from bottom of Group Seven.

Anthuenis seems to believe his team is now fighting a lost cause.

“It’s over,” he said after Wednesday’s defeat while nevertheless insisting he would not quit his job.

“I’ll never stop from my own will as long as I know that I haven’t made big mistakes and I can go on with the players,” he told Thursday’s news conference. “And for the rest, it is the job of the FA to fire their coach if they feel like it”.