Belfast Telegraph

Martinez in upbeat mood

By Robert Jones

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez admits he is “privileged” to have such a strong squad at his disposal and believes his players are capable of anything.

The Red Devils’ so-called golden generation begin their World Cup campaign on Monday against finals debutants Panama in Sochi.

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku are among the attacking options in Martinez’s squad.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defenders Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld provide strength at the other end of the pitch.

Spaniard Martinez hopes he can mould his individual stars into an effective team unit.

“We’ve said it for a long time now, we’re privileged to have this sort of group of players, not just with their skills but I think it’s more their attitude and the way they are ambassadors for Belgian football,” said Martinez.

“In Belgium we’ve got a population of 11 million and to produce these sort of players is not by accident, it’s a lot of work.

“We have got players that are very important at club level and what we want to do is bring them together in the national team.

“More importantly, I want to see them enjoying their football because when they do that, they can do anything on the pitch.”

Belgium vs Panama

World Cup Group G

Fisht Stadium, Today, 4.00pm

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