Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side will have been delighted when they managed to avoid the big hitters like France, Portugal, Netherlands and Croatia who were in lower pots in the group stage drawback in November. Instead, being paired against slightly awkward opponents in Denmark and Russia, and competition debutants Finland looks like an easier passage on paper.
The world’s number one ranked side showed their class in qualifying, winning ten out of ten, doing the double over their upcoming Group B opponents Russia in the process. A defeat at Wembley was also the only blemish on a near-perfect record in the Nations League last autumn.
Despite having a defence that leaves a lot to be desired, an abundance of riches in attack including the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Dries Mertens, Yannick Carrasco and the Hazard brothers know they need to improve on semi-final and quarter-final exits from the previous two major tournaments.
Martinez showed during his time in England that he was a cup specialist, leading Wigan Athletic to a first-ever FA Cup, as well as leading Everton to two cup semis in 2016, this may be his last chance to prove it on the international stage, progression from the groups should be light work though.
The Red Devils are 4/6 to win the group, and it should be nothing but that.