Eden Hazard captained the side as the Red Devils made it through to Qatar 2020 with a 3-1 victory over Estonia in Brussels on Saturday evening. However, injury has meant that the 30-year-old striker has been struggling to get time on the field with his club Real Madrid. This has been a cause for concern to Roberto Martinez and fans of our national team alike.
Roberto Martinez told journalists that "I especially hope that Eden Hazard remains fully fit. And that every player at his club can show the best of himself, because the competition for places in the squad is huge".
Eden Hazard is one of the so-called “golden generation” that has kept Belgium at the top of the FIFA world football rankings since 2018. However, the “golden general” has yet to win a major tournament.
Belgium finished third at the last World Cup in Russia and disappointed at the European Championship, exiting at quarter-final stage. The Red Devils finished fourth at last month's Nations League finals in Italy.
Nevertheless, Belgium’s World Cup qualifying campaign has been more or less flawless.
"You know, we're in a situation where we always have to win everything," Roberto Martinez told journalists.
"That is what the outside world expects, and it creates extra pressure. I'm very happy that our players are handling this well. They always go for it. Every player is always in a special situation at his club, but with the national team everyone pulls in the same direction. That's a good mindset”.
"We have now played 27 qualifiers under my reign. We won 25 of those. We should be happy about that. That is why we should really celebrate this qualification. That is unusual."
“We’ll work in phases”
Roberto Martinez went on to outline his preparatory plans for next year.
"We will work in different phases. First of all, we will go to Wales on Tuesday to win. We have that responsibility because Wales are still fighting for the play-offs. In March, the intention is to only call up players with less than 50 caps. During that training camp, we will be able to determine their role within the team. After that, there will be six more matches at the highest level in the Nations League. Four in June, two in September. Those duels will be the perfect preparation for the World Cup”.