Eden Hazard has announced his retirement from international football in the wake of Belgium's disappointing performance at the World Cup.

The Red Devils were underwhelming in an opening 1-0 win over Canada but defeat to Morocco and a draw with Croatia saw them exit Group F.

Head coach Roberto Martinez, who four years previously had led Belgium to the semi-finals in Russia, confirmed his departure after that game.

Real Madrid winger Hazard has now also called time on his spell with the national team, announcing his decision on Instagram.

"A page turns today… Thank you for your love. Thank you for your unparalleled support," he wrote.

"Thank you for all this happiness shared since 2008. I have decided to put an end to my international career. The succession is ready. I will miss you."

Hazard was part of a team dubbed Belgium's 'Golden Generation' alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois.

The former Chelsea star racked up 126 caps for his country and scored 33 goals, making his debut as a substitute against Luxembourg back in 2008.

His first experience of an international tournament came at the 2014 World Cup where Belgium made the quarter-finals, and he skippered his country at Euro 2016 in the absence of Vincent Kompany where they again lost in the last eight – this time to Wales.

A 1-0 defeat to eventual champions France curtailed their run in Russia four years ago and more quarter-final pain was in store at the hands of Italy at last year's rescheduled Euro 2020.

Belgium's campaign in Qatar was beset by rumours of rifts in the camp, with Hazard himself suggesting the team's best chance of success was in 2018 – a suggestion echoed by De Bruyne, who said the age of the squad was too old to compete.

Romelu Lukaku remained on the bench for Belgium's game against Croatia and was joined there by Red Devils captain Eden Hazard.

Belgium have endured a tumultuous week ahead of a World Cup match they almost certainly must win in order to advance from Group F.

Reports of a rift within the camp were dismissed as "fake news" by Roberto Martinez at his pre-match news conference.

In the same media briefing, Martinez said Lukaku – who returned from injury as a substitute in the defeat to Morocco – was "ready".

However, he added: "Now we have to see how much he can play."

The answer, it appears, was not enough to start, with Lukaku again left out of the XI and finding company on the bench in the form of skipper Hazard.

Michy Batshuayi, Lukaku's deputy, also made way as four changes saw an apparent move to a 3-4-3 formation.

Dries Mertens looked set to lead the line, supported by Yannick Carrasco and Leandro Trossard.

Croatia were unchanged after beating Canada 4-1 in their previous match to take control of the group heading into matchday three.

Belgium have lost form at a terrible time at the World Cup, with their place in the last 16 at risk against Croatia, but Eden Hazard still believes in their quality.

The Red Devils were out of sorts in beating Canada 1-0 and were duly punished in their second match against Morocco, losing 2-0.

That defeat ended a 13-game unbeaten run in group-stage games at the finals, although they have not lost consecutive such matches since a sequence of three in a row across the 1982 and 1986 tournaments.

Another reverse against Croatia – who impressed in crushing Canada – would see them eliminated, while a draw may not be enough either.

"We have to do better, we cannot deliver the performance we want [right now]," said captain Hazard, who also skippered Belgium to the semi-finals four years ago.

"We have to show it on the pitch, that is what counts. We still have quality in the group and are here to win.

"We lack confidence because of that last pass and that last dribble. We have to regain that confidence."

That lack of confidence is particularly evident in the final third, with Belgium netting with just one of 19 shots. That conversion rate of 5.3 per cent is their lowest at a finals since converting only three of 93 attempts in 1982 (3.2 per cent).

Concerningly, Croatia have had no such issues of late, with their four goals against Canada tying their World Cup record for a single match (also vs Cameroon in 2014).

The 2018 finalists have also won four of their past five group-stage matches, drawing the other, and their only defeats to fellow European nations in 10 World Cup meetings have been to France – in both 1998 and 2018.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Croatia – Andrej Kramaric

Kramaric was in inspired form against Canada, scoring twice before being substituted 17 minutes from time when he surely would have backed himself for a hat-trick. It was only the second World Cup brace by a Croatia player (also Mario Mandzukic vs Cameroon in 2014).

Belgium – Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku has appeared for only nine minutes as a substitute so far at this tournament, but it is surely time for Belgium to turn to their main man. He has scored all three of the Red Devils' goals across their past two meetings with Croatia – both of which they have won.

PREDICTION

This is one of the most finely balanced matches of the tournament so far, according to the supercomputer. While Belgium are marginal favourites, given a 37.2 per cent chance of winning, Croatia are just behind on 36.5 per cent.

Does that make a draw most likely? That result, which suits Croatia far better than Belgium, is rated at 26.3 per cent.

Thibaut Courtois insists "too many lies are spread" as the Belgium goalkeeper dismissed reports of a rift in the Red Devils' camp.

The 2022 World Cup is regarded as the last shot at glory for Belgium's 'Golden Generation', who must avoid defeat against Croatia to stand any chance of reaching the last 16.

Following their shock 2-0 defeat to Morocco, Jan Vertonghen appeared to take a swipe at Kevin De Bruyne, who suggested the ageing Red Devils were "too old" to launch a genuine challenge in Qatar.

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard stated his belief Roberto Martinez's side had "greater chances" of glory in Russia four years ago, when they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by France in the semi-finals.

"I guess we attack badly because we are also too old up front," Vertonghen told reporters in the mixed zone after the loss against the Atlas Lions.

Courtois, who will earn his 100th cap should he play against Croatia, revealed there had been a discussion among the group on Monday, and that the rumours have spurred his team-mates on.

"The problem is that too many lies are spread," he said. "A situation is described that doesn't exist. As a group, we need to avoid that negativity.

"Everything was clarified yesterday. Everyone has openly expressed their opinion. Now, we have to take action on the field. It's good that we had a group conversation. We said what we thought to each other.

"We have to be honest with each other and fight for each other on the pitch."

Hazard also denied there was a confrontation in the dressing-room after the Morocco defeat, but the Red Devils captain admitted he had held a conversation with De Bruyne about his comments.

"Nothing happened in the dressing-room," he said. "Only the coach spoke. I spoke to Kevin De Bruyne, he does believe in the group.

"We had a good talk among the players. A lot has been said. We talked for an hour about good things and less good things. Now, we want to win against Croatia. We have to be ready."

Eden Hazard accepts Belgium had a better chance of winning the World Cup when their 'golden generation' was at its peak in 2018.

Belgium enjoyed their best World Cup showing four years ago in Russia as they finished third following a 1-0 defeat to eventual winners France in the semi-finals.

But after then losing to Italy in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, there is a perception Belgium's greatest generation of players has missed its chance of winning a major trophy.

While their squad in Qatar includes many familiar names and several members of the 'golden generation', it is widely accepted most of them are past their best, with the unconvincing 1-0 win over Canada doing little to disprove that notion.

Hazard, who himself is 31 and has had a nightmare with injuries while at Real Madrid over the past three years, is realistic about Belgium's chances, but was keen to remind critics that Roberto Martinez's team still have plenty in their arsenal.

"To be fair, I think we had a better chance four years ago," he told reporters ahead of Belgium's second Group F game against Morocco.

"The team was better four years ago, but we still have the quality to win games, win competitions.

"We have a few guys who are a bit older now but we have experience, we have the best goalkeeper [Thibaut Courtois] in the world, and like I said before, we have one of the best midfields in the world right now, we also have good strikers.

"We are a complete team and I think it's just [we need to show] the desire if we want to win, it's just mentality things.

"We have to enjoy moments, play our game, have fun on the pitch, try to win and then we'll see what happens."

Belgium were roundly criticised for their performance against Canada, particularly after being outplayed in the first half.

 

At the end of the game, Canada – who saw an Alphonso Davies penalty saved by Courtois – had accumulated 2.63 expected goals (xG) to Belgium's 0.77, highlighting just how much of a greater threat John Herdman's side carried.

One recurring theme from that match was apparent tension between De Bruyne and Toby Alderweireld, who were involved in on-pitch spats with each other at least twice.

De Bruyne explained after the game that his frustration stemmed from a belief Belgium – and Alderweireld – were looking for the long ball too often, but Martinez was quick to shut down any suggestion of there being a major problem between them.

"We shouldn't try to get an issue where there's no issue," he added. "You've got two experienced players, they've played – if I'm not wrong – over 70 games together for the national team.

"This is not a young player coming into the team, I think there's a real understanding as a team you need to find what the opponent gives you and at times you play through the lines with pressure, sometimes there's spaces in behind, making the right decisions, and when you do that it's important because you need to react as a team.

"There's no issue there, they're two players who are winners and they want to perform well and they take responsibility, as a team that's where we're working.

"We need to know when we're doing one aspect and when doing the other we do as a team, but it's not an issue at all."

Eden Hazard has told Germany's players to stick to the football rather than protesting after Hansi Flick's men fell to a shock 2-1 loss against Japan in their Qatar 2022 opener.

Germany's starting line-up covered their mouths in protest during their pre-match team photo on Wednesday over FIFA's response to the OneLove campaign.

Football's governing body warned any teams that backed the anti-discrimination initiative faced sanctions, including a yellow card for captains who sported OneLove armbands.

However, Die Mannschaft warmed up for the Japan match wearing training shirts featuring rainbow-coloured trim in another apparent show of support for LGBTQ+ rights.

While the stance of the Germany players was widely praised, Belgium and Real Madrid forward Hazard believes they should leave non-footballing matters for others.

"They lost the match," Hazard told reporters. "They would have been better off not doing it and winning. 

"We're here to play football. I'm not here to pass on a political message, there are people who are better placed for that. We want to concentrate on the football."

Germany and Belgium were two of seven European teams that had planned to wear the specially designed armbands in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are criminalised.

Asked about his own stance on the issue, and whether he would have liked to have shown his support, Hazard said: "I'm not at ease talking about it. I'm here to play football.

"We were kind of forbidden from... I didn't want to start the match with a yellow card; it would have been annoying for the rest of the tournament.

"If I were to redo it, maybe I would wear it."

Quickfire late goals from Ritsu Doan and fellow substitute Takuma Asano gave Japan victory over Germany after Ilkay Gundogan had opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

Belgium dodged an upset in their opening group match, meanwhile, as Michy Batshuayi's strike earned them a 1-0 win over Canada at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

Roberto Martinez has revealed Romelu Lukaku will miss Belgium's World Cup opener against Canada and may not play any part in the group stage.

The striker has endured a frustrating start to his second spell with Inter after returning on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

Lukaku has made only five appearances for the Serie A club this season, spending two months on the sidelines with a thigh injury before suffering another setback last month.

The Red Devils' record goalscorer is not ready for the encounter with Canada at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Wednesday and Martinez says there are no guarantees he will be ready for the Group F matches against Morocco and Croatia.

The Belgium head coach said on Tuesday: "We're very happy the way that he is progressing. He had a very good session yesterday, not with a group, but is progressing in a steady way. We haven't got a timeline.

"I wouldn't be able to tell if he's going to be the second game or the third game. If I follow the medical advice, at this point it would be the third game. If I follow how the player feels, probably we’ve got a chance for the second game."

Eden Hazard has also had fitness issues since making a big-money move to Real Madrid, where he has failed to make the impact that was expected of him.

Martinez is backing his captain to show what he can do on the international stage once again.

"It's been a tough situation in terms of the playing minutes," the Spaniard said. "We are a better team when Eden Hazard is in our dressing room, that's for sure."

Belgium defender Timothy Castagne is confident Red Devils supporters will soon start to see Eden Hazard rekindle his best form.

The former Chelsea winger has endured a dismal, injury-hit three years since joining LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Set to turn 32 in January, Hazard has managed only two goals and one assist in 15 games for Madrid in 2022, starting a mere four times and playing just 532 minutes in the first team. 

Now Hazard, who has a little over 18 months left on his contract, has a big chance to show what he can do on a different stage as he prepares to play a part for Belgium at the World Cup in Qatar.

Leicester City full-back Castagne says his team-mate will need time to get back to speed, but once he is there is no reason he cannot produce his best football again.

"Belgians would like to see again the Eden from a few years ago," he said at a news conference on Saturday.

"As players, we see during training he's still here. But we know very well that coming back without playing much is not easy.

"He needs some time and I think the 60 minutes he played [against Egypt on Friday] will be very good for him.

"And then he'll try to improve during the tournament. It won't happen immediately – he won't be incredible during the first game, but step by step, he can grow and improve."

Belgium start their campaign against Canada on Wednesday, before taking on Morocco and Croatia in Group F. 

Eden Hazard wants to salvage his Real Madrid career but would have no complaints if the club asked him to leave at the end of the season.

The former Chelsea winger has endured a dismal time in Spain, with a string of injuries ruining his hopes of transferring his Premier League form to LaLiga.

Now Hazard has a big chance to show what he can do on a different stage, as he prepares to play a part for Belgium at the World Cup in Qatar.

Set to turn 32 in January, Hazard has managed only two goals and one assist in 15 games for Madrid in 2022, starting a mere four times and playing just 532 minutes in the first team. He has a little over 18 months left on his contract.

Considering Hazard won the Silver Ball at the 2018 World Cup, as the second-best player in the tournament, it has been a staggering descent from main man to bit-part player.

Hazard was Chelsea's player of the year in his final campaign at Stamford Bridge, the 2018-19 season, and he has backed himself to hit similar heights again, given an injury-free run.

Speaking to Marca, Hazard said: "I have to prove to everyone that I can play football. People have doubts about what I can do, but I don't."

He described himself as "a good player who just has to play more football", and can see why there are those who doubt him.

"It is normal. I am a player who has not played many games in three years. I can understand it," he said.

"I don't play, but being a Real Madrid player was my dream as a child and after this year I have another season on my contract. I want to play for this club, with this shirt."

All the same, Hazard is a realist and would not want to overstay his welcome.

He says a January move away from Madrid would be "impossible, because I have family and I like the city".

"But in the summer it is possible that I go," he said.

"If the club tells me: 'Eden, thanks for four years, but you have to go', I have to accept it because it's normal. But I would like to play more, show more that I can play, that I am a good player."

Eden Hazard acknowledged the World Cup in Qatar will be the "last chance" for Belgium's 'Golden Generation' to triumph and says he wants to stay at Real Madrid.

With the likes of Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku to call upon, Belgium have been unable to get their hands on a major trophy.

The Red Devils have ended five of the past seven years at the top of the FIFA rankings, though they suffered quarter-final eliminations at the past two European Championships.

Belgium were also knocked out at the same stage in the 2014 World Cup before reaching the semi-finals of Russia 2018, where they were beaten by eventual winners France.

Hazard, who has endured a difficult time in Madrid following his move from Chelsea, believes Qatar will be Belgium's last opportunity to succeed with the current star-studded squad.

"I keep smiling. There are people who doubt my qualities, but not me and we will see them again," the 31-year-old said. 

"For us the World Cup is the last chance to show that we can still win something with this generation. It will be complicated, but we will give our all."

Hazard suggested "it is possible" Qatar could be his last World Cup with Belgium and says he has no intention of leaving Madrid by his own choice any time soon.

"I don't want to leave Real Madrid. The answer is clear, but it's not just up to me," he added.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has previously stated Hazard, who has started just one LaLiga game this season, is aware of the reasons for his lack of minutes with fierce competition for places.

The former Chelsea winger has struggled with injuries and fitness issues following his arrival in June 2019.

Hazard has managed just 29 starts in his four LaLiga seasons with Madrid, who trail Barcelona by two points.

Barcelona are expected to be major players in the January transfer market after a busy pre-season.

The 26-time Spanish champions are top of LaLiga at the World Cup break but crashed out of the Champions League.

The Blaugrana are still battling financial challenges, while they also have some unsettled players on their books.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOTTING JANUARY GUNDOGAN MOVE

Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are planning to move for Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in January, with fears Franck Kessie may exit soon.

The Blaugrana are eager to bolster their midfield options and a move for Bernardo Silva appears difficult despite their ongoing interest.

As a result, Barca have turned to the Germany international, whose contract with City ends in mid-2023. The report also claims the Catalans could move for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans.

Kessie has been linked with Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Fulham by Spanish media outlet Sport. The Ivorian only joined in July, but the club's financial position means they are open to letting players go.

ROUND-UP

– Despite being linked with a long list of names, Sport claims Barcelona will only make one signing in the January transfer window, with a right-back seen as a priority. Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard and Villarreal's Juan Foyth are among their options.

– New Aston Villa heard coach Unai Emery wants to bring in Real Madrid's Eden Hazard and Nacho Fernandez, according to El Nacional. Spanish boss Emery left Villarreal for the Villans last month.

Juventus are ready to offer a new contract to French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, claims Tuttosport. Rabiot had been linked with an off-season move, with Manchester United mentioned as a possible destination, but has impressed this term.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are putting together a bid for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January. The Moroccan winger is expected to cost less than €20million (£17.5m).

Inter are keen on Valencia left-back Jesus Vazquez in January and a mid-2023 move for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, reports La Gazetta dello Sport.

Romelu Lukaku has been included in Belgium's 26-man squad for the Qatar World Cup, despite injury concerns.

Head coach Roberto Martinez warned that Lukaku had to prove his fitness for the group stage if he was to be named in the squad, which the striker appears to have done.

Belgium's record goalscorer Lukaku, on loan at Inter from Chelsea, made his comeback from a hamstring injury, coming off the bench to score against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on October 26.

However, that is one of just two appearances the 29-year-old has managed since August, with his last game coming on October 29 against Sampdoria.

There is no place for another forward plying his trade in Serie A, with Milan's Divock Origi left out, though his club team-mate Charles De Ketelaere does make it.

The Premier League has plenty of representation, with three players from Leicester City, including Youri Tielemans, along with Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne, Brighton and Hove Albion's in-form winger Leandro Trossard and midfielders from Everton and Aston Villa in the form of Amadou Onana and Leander Dendoncker.

Eden Hazard has started just two games for Real Madrid this season, but makes the cut among Martinez's forwards, while club-mate Thibaut Courtois will be hoping for another fine tournament on an individual level, after he won the Golden Glove at Russia 2018.

This could be what has been dubbed the "golden generation" of Belgian football's last chance to win a major tournament, with several of their star players now over or approaching the age of 30. They finished third in 2018, beating England in a play-off match after losing to eventual champions France in the semi-finals.

Belgium kick their tournament off against Canada on November 23, before playing Morocco and Croatia in their other Group F matches.

Belgium squad: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge); Toby Alderweireld (Royal Antwerp), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa), Wout Faes (Leicester City), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht); Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Amadou Onana (Everton), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund); Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce), Charles De Ketelaere (Milan), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter), Dries Mertens (Galatasaray), Lois Openda (Lens), Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Youssoufa Moukoko has scored six goals and provided four assists this Bundesliga season for Borussia Dortmund, putting him firmly in the spotlight. 

The 17-year-old has stepped up since Erling Haaland's exit for Manchester City, with Dortmund sitting fourth in the Bundesliga.

The Cameroon-born forward is contracted with Dortmund until 2023, but his impressive displays are attracting interest.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL ENTER RACE FOR DORTMUND'S MOUKOKO

Liverpool have entered the race for Borussia Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus already circling, according to SPORT.

Moukoko is out of contract in mid-2023, when many clubs are hoping to sign him on a free transfer.

The teenager has hinted he is content at Dortmund for now, with reports he will hold off until he turns 18 on November 20 to sign a new deal when viewed as an adult under German labour laws.

 

ROUND-UP

– Real Madrid midfielder Eden Hazard could be lured back to the Premier League with interest from Newcastle United and Aston Villa, claims El Nacional.

Christopher Nkunku's proposed move to Chelsea may be hijacked by Real Madrid, reports El Nacional. The RB Leipzig forward is willing to wait for Madrid before confirming his Blues move.

– Birmingham Live claims new Aston Villa manager Unai Emery wants to bring in forward trio Nicolas Jackson, Yeremi Pino and Samuel Chukwueze from his former club Villarreal in January, along with Pau Torres.

– The Sun reports Tottenham are considering making a January move for Everton winger Anthony Gordon.

– Struggling Premier League club Southampton have decided to sack manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, according to The Athletic.

Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is expected to cost €100million if the undefeated Serie A leaders choose to sell at the end of the season.

Kvaratskhelia, 21, was with Rubin Kazan for three seasons before the Russian invasion of Ukraine halted their 2021-22 campaign, allowing the Georgia-born player to sign with Georgian club Dinamo Batumi.

Napoli scooped him up from Batumi for around €10m, and he has been in fine form since arriving in Italy. In 12 Serie A games, Kvaratskhelia has six goals and seven assists, while adding two goals and three assists in five Champions League matches.

A January sale has been ruled out, but if the club decide to cash-in on their shrewd piece of business, they could reportedly multiply their investment 10-fold.

 

TOP STORY – BREAKOUT NAPOLI YOUNGSTER SET TO COMMAND NINE-FIGURE FEE

According to Kvaratskhelia's agent Christian Emile in an interview with Fabrizio Romano, the Georgian sensation affectionately referred to as 'Kvaradona' by Napoli fans is one of the hottest names on the transfer market.

In the interview, reported by the London Evening Standard, Emile said there is "a zero per cent chance" he is sold in January as Napoli push for their first title since the 1989-90 season. 

However, he said "people are talking about €100m" when discussing Kvaratskhelia's value now, and if his form continues in this fashion the rest of the season, Emile added "he will reach €100m for sure".

The report names Liverpool and Chelsea as two of the key clubs known to have interest at this point.

 

ROUND-UP

– Mundo Deportivo is reporting Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan – who is out of contract at the end of the season – is a target for Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid

– According to The Daily Mail, Manchester United have made Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham their top target.

Eden Hazard could leave Real Madrid in January, per Mundo Deportivo, with Juventus named as a club interested in the 31-year-old.

– Media Foot is reporting United are "seriously considering" a move for 33-year-old Bayern Munich forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, but they will not be making any significant purchases in January.

– According to L'Equipe, Lionel Messi does not want to leave Paris Saint-Germain without winning "a major trophy", and is considering extending his contract beyond this season.

Eden Hazard accepts Belgium must lift a major trophy if they are to justify the 'Golden Generation' label they have carried for almost a decade.

Belgium boast a squad of players that represent some of Europe's biggest clubs, including the likes of Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois.

The Red Devils have ended five of the past seven years at the top of the FIFA rankings, yet they have repeatedly struggled to make an impact at tournaments.

They were eliminated at the quarter-final stage of the past two European Championships and also exited at that point in the 2014 World Cup.

Belgium did go one better by reaching the semi-finals of Russia 2018, where they were beaten by France, and Hazard says the aim in the Qatar World Cup is to go all the way.

"There's always talk of the 'Golden Generation' but there's some truth to it," Hazard, who has struggled for playing time at Real Madrid this season, told FIFA's official website. 

"We've spent almost 10 years together. Now we've got young players starting to come through.

"We've got an incredible generation of players, but we still haven't won anything. If we really want to earn that 'Golden Generation' nickname, that's the one thing we need to do.

"Our collective experience has definitely helped us in previous tournaments, so I hope that it will continue in the same vein for some time yet."

Hazard has played 122 times for Belgium, placing him behind only Toby Alderweireld (123), Axel Witsel (126) and Jan Vertonghen (141) as his country's most capped player.

The Madrid forward scored three goals in six matches for Belgium in the most recent World Cup and is hoping to better that tally in Qatar.

"I have to set the bar high," said Hazard, who also played five times for his country in the 2014 instalment in Brazil. "I'm going to try to do better than in 2018. 

"It'll be tough because that was already pretty good. I'm fortunate to be the captain of a great team and a big footballing nation. We owe it to ourselves to have high expectations."

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