Belgium 8-0 Belarus: Trossard and Vanaken score twice as Martinez’s men go wild

Leandro Trossard and Hans Vanaken scored twice as Belgium passed Belarus 8-0 to climb to the top of their 2022 World Cup qualifying group in style.

Belgium fell behind in their first two Group E games – a 3-1 win over Wales and a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic – but were four goals clear at halftime Tuesday.

Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring for Belgium after 14 minutes at Den Dreef in Leuven in the absence of a rested Romelu Lukaku and Vanaken added a second quickfire for the home side.

Trossard and Jeremy Doku were also on the scoresheet before half-time and more strikes followed after the interval from Dennis Praet and Christian Benteke, before Trossard and Vanaken completed the rout – the heaviest loss on record by Belarus.

Batshuayi failed to beat Aleksandr Gutor at close range at first, but he made amends by picking the roof of the net from a tight angle of the next chance that fell on him.

Vanaken doubled Belgium’s lead three minutes later with a hard-hitting six-meter volley and Trossard sent a glorious third into the long-distance upper left corner.

Martinez’s men were home and dry before the interval as Doku beat Gutor with a well-taken strike after being played by Praet.

Praet went from supplier to scorer four minutes into the second half with precise training from outside the area to join Vanaken and Trossard to score his first senior international goal.

Belgium wasted a few presentable opportunities before Benteke guided Toby Alderweireld’s cross to the lower right corner with a clean first finish for a sixth goal.

Vanaken was sort of denied his second by a save from Gutor at the line, but he ended the scoring late after Trossard doubled his own score with a shot in the legs of the Belarusian goalkeeper.

What does it mean? Martinez gets an answer

Martinez said he was happy with Belgium’s first two results in what was shaping up to be a competitive squad, but admitted that more was needed from a team ranked number one in the world.

The Belgian boss certainly had an answer here, even after resting players like Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne with the Red Devils scoring an incredible 15 shots on target and one less goal to tie their biggest win ever.

The outright victory puts Belgium three points above the Czech Republic, who previously led the table on goal difference but were beaten 1-0 by Wales in the other Group E game. Tuesday.

Belgium inspired by Batshuayi

Batshuayi was an unused substitute in Belgium’s first two qualifiers, but he more than took advantage of his opportunity here with a goal and an assist in the one-sided game.

The Crystal Palace striker may have been knocked out just past the hour mark, but he still created more chances (three) than any player on the pitch.

Mignolet the spectator

It wasn’t just in attack that Martinez made changes – Simon Mignolet was brought into the camp in place of Thibaut Courtois, who was not in the squad at all.

Mignolet won their 30th cap for Belgium and had no stops to make during the 90 minutes as Belarus failed to find the target of their two shots.

And after?

Belgium return to action with a pre-Euro 2020 friendly against Croatia in early June, while Belarus – which did not qualify for the tournament – host Azerbaijan the same month.

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