Roberto Martinez believes Belgium deserve to win Euro 2020 but acknowledges that will count for little if they do not perform at the finals.

Belgium completed their qualification campaign on Tuesday, thrashing Cyprus 6-1 to end with 10 wins from 10 in Group I, scoring 40 goals in the process.

Martinez has already seen enough to suggest Belgium are worthy of a maiden major international title, yet he knows there is plenty of work to do.

"Whether we can win the European Championship, that is something that we have in our hands," head coach Martinez said. "We need to get even better and then we see if we can play another great tournament.

"We have set the standard at the World Cup [finishing third] and we are continuing to develop into a team with a great deal of togetherness. And the fans are also important.

"We now have seven months to become as good as possible. This team deserves to win the European Championship but, in football, it's not that simple."

Reflecting on qualifying, he added: "I think everyone just worked really well this year. The players know what to do and they do it with an incredible focus.

"Scoring six times and then playing again in this way is very good."

Kevin De Bruyne, who scored twice in a playmaking masterclass against Cyprus, added: "It's always beautiful. Nobody has given it to us.

"Once you start the qualification, you have to go match by match and we did. It's very nice to finally get there [with 10 wins]."

Belgium completed a dominant Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 10th win in 10, crushing Cyprus 6-1 in Brussels on Tuesday.

Roberto Martinez's Red Devils signed off from Group I in real style as Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Benteke both scored twice, albeit only after Cyprus had improbably led through Nikolas Ioannou.

The Belgian response was swift, Benteke and Yannick Carrasco scoring as De Bruyne bagged a brace before the break.

An own goal and Benteke's second following the restart saw the World Cup semi-finalists end qualifying on a remarkable total of 40 goals, more than any other side in Europe.

Hans Vanaken should have opened the scoring for Belgium after 10 minutes but incredibly missed the target from six yards following Thorgan Hazard's teasing low cross.

The hosts were swiftly punished, too, as Ioannou's left boot proved far more clinical, with a low finish sent beyond Simon Mignolet.

Belgium were behind for less than two minutes, though. Benteke failed to make contact with De Bruyne's right-wing cross but scrambled to prod in when Carrasco returned the ball from the left.

A string of Neophytos Michael saves initially kept Belgium at bay as they chased another, yet the goalkeeper gifted De Bruyne a goal 10 minutes before half-time, comically fumbling a bobbling volley into the net.

De Bruyne had his second before the break, firing in with the aid of a slight deflection, before Carrasco volleyed through Michael's legs from Hazard's centre.

It was more of the same after half-time as Michael spilled De Bruyne's shot and directed Carrasco's rebound onto the post, only to see Kypros Christoforou prod in a tame own goal moments later.

Yari Verschaeren poked a one-on-one tamely wide, but Benteke - completely out of sorts in the Premier League - was clinical when similarly sent through, dispatching the chance with his left foot.

Benteke looked destined for a hat-trick until he dallied with an open goal, allowing Christoforou to recover, with the Red Devils settling for six.

What does it mean? Belgium an attacking force to fear

Belgium have seen front men Romelu Lukaku, Benteke and Michy Batshuayi each have issues with form at club level during this campaign, while chief creator De Bruyne has dealt with an injury. To still end with such a tally in the goals-for column is staggering. The opponents have been modest and greater tests are to come, but the Red Devils will expect to outscore anyone.

De Bruyne a class above

Eden Hazard was similarly involved in much of Belgium's best work, but this was a De Bruyne masterclass. He cut through the Cyprus defence time and again, playing every type of pass to tee up team-mates. The Manchester City man still found time for a pair of goals and looks in fine nick heading into a busy club period.

Unhelpful contributions

De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were capable of beating Cyprus without any help but gleefully accepted the unorthodox assistance that came their way. Michael made an awful mess of De Bruyne's shot when the visitors looked like reaching half-time still level, sparking a collapse.

What's next?

Martinez will settle in to assess club action over the coming months, hoping De Bruyne and his other key players come through unscathed ahead of Euro 2020. Cyprus will merely be spectators when the tournament kicks off, perhaps grateful to avoid another meeting.

Eden Hazard believes Belgium will head to Euro 2020 stronger than ever and must improve on their third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup.

Roberto Martinez's side have a 100 per cent record after nine games in qualifying for the European Championship and will seek to finish their campaign with a maximum 30 points against Cyprus on Tuesday.

The Red Devils finished third in last year's World Cup and lead the FIFA rankings, and Hazard thinks they are better equipped for their next major tournament.

"We have two years more experience than at the World Cup, two more years with the coach," said Real Madrid star Hazard.

"We know each other better, we have young players … I think we are stronger. We have developed the winning mentality that we didn't have enough at Euro 2016 and the World Cup.

"But if we end up fourth in the European Championship then we will be less strong." 

Belgium have already been touted as potential Euro 2020 winners and Hazard says they deserve to be considered in that category.

"We are among the favourites, for sure," added Hazard. 

"But we are not alone. France, Italy, Spain, England are also serious opponents." 

Ryan Christie acknowledged Scotland were fortunate to survive an early scare against Cyprus, who looked to have taken the lead inside six minutes on Saturday.

Scotland won 2-1 in Nicosia to leapfrog Cyprus into third in Euro 2020 qualification Group I, although neither side can progress automatically to the finals.

The visitors could have been behind before Christie netted his first international goal after 12 minutes, however, as Giorgios Efrem's shot against the crossbar appeared to bounce over the goal line.

No goal was given, allowing Christie to break the deadlock. Efrem later equalised but John McGinn's swift riposte clinched the points.

Reflecting on the incident, Christie told Sky Sports: "From where I was, to be honest, it looked over the line. I've obviously not seen it back yet.

"We rode our luck a bit there in the first 10 minutes. It probably took us longer than we wanted to feel our way into the game.

"After that scare, we got to grips with the game. The goal came and, from there, we were pretty resilient."

He added of his first Scotland goal: "I'm delighted, obviously.

"It's something I've been desperate to do every time I've played for Scotland, and it's probably taken me longer than I wanted. It's nice to get it in a win, as well."

Scotland play Kazakhstan on Tuesday but are already looking towards a home play-off semi-final in March 2020, where McGinn hopes their belief will be boosted by wins such as these.

"There's a lot of new faces in the squad," the in-form Aston Villa midfielder said. "That's a game we might have drawn or lost in recent times, so it's important we get a winning mentality in games like that.

"Even though it wasn't pretty towards the end, it's so important as we build towards March.

Ryan Christie and John McGinn fired a weakened Scotland side to a 2-1 win and a home-and-away double over Cyprus in Euro 2020 qualification on Saturday.

Neither team could progress from Group I following their respective humbling defeats to Russia last month, yet Scotland have a home play-off semi-final to come in March 2020.

They moved above hosts Cyprus into third in the standings here, too, victorious despite the absence of big names Andrew Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and Ryan Fraser.

Christie's first international goal put Scotland ahead after 12 minutes, before Giorgios Efrem equalised and McGinn hit back in the space of six second-half-minutes, seeing Scotland to a second 2-1 win over Cyprus in this campaign.

Cyprus came agonisingly close to opening the scoring inside six minutes as former Rangers winger Efrem smartly worked space inside the area and crashed a shot against the underside of the crossbar.

The ball seemingly bounced over the line but, with no technology to assist the officials, was not awarded as a goal.

There was no stopping the opener that followed at the other end, with Christie darting inside from the right and curling a glorious left-footed effort in from 20 yards.

Even better was to come from Efrem at the start of the second half, however, as he met a half-cleared set-piece with a sweetly struck volley that faded away from David Marshall into the top-right corner.

It proved merely a momentary setback for Scotland and they soon led again through McGinn, meeting Greg Taylor's cross and directing a left-footed finish past Urko Pardo.

Ioannis Kosti should have levelled matters again but sent a stooping header just wide, while Fotios Papoulis was guilty of a glaring stoppage-time miss as Scotland held on.

 

What does it mean? Positives to take into play-offs

Scotland's hopes of reaching Euro 2020 now rest on getting the better of sides of a similar stature in the play-offs, making this victory against Cyprus - also in Nations League C - all the more encouraging. Steve Clarke's men should certainly fancy their chances of reaching the finals if the likes of Robertson and McTominay are able to return next year.

Christie off the mark

Perhaps understandably given the absent stars, Scotland lacked fluidity in possession early on. However, Christie impressed again, netting with a fine strike. His two assists against San Marino last month included a seemingly goal-bound effort that McGinn touched in, but the winger was not be denied a maiden international effort this time.

McKenna off the boil

Scotland had Declan Gallagher making his debut at the heart of the defence, yet Scott McKenna looked the more uncertain of the two centre-backs. McKenna was sold hopelessly by Efrem's dummy prior to the shot that should have seen Cyprus in front, before the Aberdeen man's rash lunge led to the free-kick from which the hosts equalised.

What's next?

This stage of qualification ends for these two sides on Tuesday, as Scotland host Kazakhstan while Cyprus visit Belgium. However, Clarke's side have at least one more match still to come in the play-offs in March.

Roberto Martinez has confirmed neither Thomas Meunier nor Jan Vertonghen are fit for international duty, but Kevin De Bruyne has returned to the Belgium squad.

The Red Devils, who have already qualified for Euro 2020, have limited defensive options for upcoming matches against Russia and Cyprus.

Wing-back Meunier suffered a thigh strain in Champions League action for Paris Saint-Germain against Club Brugge last month and is yet to return.

Meanwhile, Tottenham defender Vertonghen, who has struggled for form this season, was last seen on the bench at Liverpool at the end of October.

Vissel Kobe's Thomas Vermaelen is included but will be assessed as he deals with his own fitness issues, while Jason Denayer is brought in.

Anderlecht left-back Elias Cobbaut also profits from the various injuries, earning a first senior call-up.

"[Goalkeeper] Koen Casteels, Meunier and Vertonghen are injured," explained Martinez. "We are not sure if Vermaelen will be available. He will be assessed on Monday.

"Cobbaut has had a good transition with Johan Walem and the under-21s. The European Under-21 Championship last season was a key moment for him. For his club, he shows that he is growing all the time."

The return of De Bruyne is a boost, meanwhile, having last played for his country against Scotland in September due to a subsequent groin strain.

Brighton and Hove Albion forward Leandro Trossard is also fit again and in the squad.


Belgium squad in full: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Hendrik Van Crombrugge (Anderlecht), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg); Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Elias Cobbaut (Anderlecht), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe); Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Timothy Castagne (Atalanta), Nacer Chadli (Anderlecht), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Dennis Praet (Leicester City), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund); Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Maxime Lestienne (Standard Liege), Romelu Lukaku (Inter), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Divock Origi (Liverpool), Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht).

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