Belgium ripped apart San Marino 9-0 to become the first team to qualify for the Euro 2020 with Romelu Lukaku scoring twice, taking his international tally to 51 goals on Thursday. With this win, Belgium have taken a huge 11-point lead over Cyprus in Group I with three matches still to go. This was the seventh straight qualifying win for the world’s top-ranked side.
“(For our next games) the approach will be identical, we have the responsibility to maintain our standards. The next step is to finish first in the group,” Martinez said after the match.
This is the third time Belgium have managed a victory margin of nine goals having earlier done that in 1994 (Gibraltar 9-0) and 2017 (San Marino 10-1).
He added, “In my eyes, nine countries have the talent to win the Euro. What will make the difference is how you face adversity. It’s necessary to sacrifice yourself for your teammates.”
Meanwhile, Scotland’s hopes of automatic qualification have been put to rest after conceding four goals in the second half in Moscow, losing to Russia 0-4. Artem Dzyuba scored in the 57th minute to put Russia ahead and three minutes later Magomed Ozdoyev doubled it. Dzyuba struck again in the 70th minute before Aleksandr Golovin completed the rout.
“It was a game of two halves indeed. What happened during half-time in the dressing room? Well, it was quite a loud 15 minutes,” Dzyuba was quoted as saying by AFP. “It definitely made us play better and we showed what we can do.”
Scotland, though, still, can qualify through Euro 2020 play-offs which start in March next year.