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Belgium 8-0 Belarus: 5 talking points as Red Devils run riot on home turf | 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 

Belgium v Belarus - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Belgium v Belarus - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
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A second-string Belgium side decimated Belarus 8-0 to get back to winning ways in Group E of UEFA' s section for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Roberto Martinez named a vastly changed side from the one that played out a 1-1 draw with Czech Republic on Saturday. Only his three-man defense remained the same, with all other eight players replaced in the starting lineup.

It took just 14 minutes for Belgium to get ahead. Jeremy Doku teed up Michy Batshuayi inside the box and the Crystal Palace man made no mistake from close range.

They doubled their lead three minutes later, with Hans Vanaken scoring his first goal for Belgium from a superbly lofted pass by Thomas Meunier.

The Club Brugge man turned provider in the 38th minute by setting up Leandro Trossard on the edge of the area. The 26-year-old celebrated his first start for his country with his first goal.

Jeremy Doku got in on the goalmouth action three minutes later with an excellent solo goal that saw him run a considerable distance before beating Aleksandr Gutor with a shot from close range.

It was 5-0 just four minutes into the second half. Batshuayi set Dennis Praet up and the Leicester City man placed a fabulous shot into the bottom left corner.

Belarus missed a golden opportunity soon after, with Yuri Kendysh firing wide when he should have done better after being played through on goal.

Three goals in the final 20 minutes from Christian Benteke, Leandro Trossard and Hans Vanaken completed the eight-goal rout to send Belgium top of the standings in Group E.

Here are five talking points from the fixture.

#5 Belgium fringe players send a statement of intent to Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez has a talented squad to choose from
Roberto Martinez has a talented squad to choose from

Belgium arguably have the most talented pool of players on the international scene right now.

Virtually every position has two to three world-beaters performing at the highest levels and it goes without saying that competition for places is extremely tight.

While some names like Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku are shoo-ins for the starting lineup, several other positions are still very much up for grabs.

The game against Belarus offered some of the players on the fringes of the Belgium squad to stake a claim and they played their part excellently.

The likes of Hans Vannaken and Jeremy Doku are not guaranteed their spots in the European Championship in June but their performance here would go a long way in solidifying their claim for a place on the plane.

Others like Dennis Praet, Michy Batshuayi and Leandro Trossard also gave a statement performance, while Adnan Januzaj stepped off the bench to provide an assist after 12 minutes on the field.

#4 Hapless Belarus help several Belgium players break their international duck

Hans Vanaken scored his first international goal
Hans Vanaken scored his first international goal

One of the biggest highlights of a player's career is representing their country on the international scene and those who are lucky enough to score a goal in national colors remember the day forever.

Belarus' poor performance on the night meant that as many as three Belgium players scored their first international goals in the same game.

The first to get in on the act was Hans Vanaken on what was his eighth cap and he was soon followed by Leandro Torssard and Dennis Praet.

The former two ended the night with a brace each, while Praet had a solitary goal but each man will have this game against Belarus etched on their memory forever.

#3 Shared responsibility for Belgium

Seven different players provided assists for Belgium
Seven different players provided assists for Belgium

Beyond the dominant manner in which Belgium achieved their victory, Roberto Martinez will also be impressed by the impressive team work and sharing of goalscoring responsibilities.

Almost everybody got in on the act against Belarus, with defender Toby Alderweireld and substitute Adnan Januzaj also giving attacking returns.

The eight goals were scored by six different players, while seven different players assisted in what was a wholesome, all-round display from Belgium.

#2 In all of this, where was Thorgan Hazard?

Thirgan Hazard was on the peripheries of the game
Thirgan Hazard was on the peripheries of the game

Belgium were without the more illustrious Hazard, whose nightmare spell at Real Madrid continued with another injury that ruled him out of the latest international window.

The Red Devils, however, had his younger brother Thorgan and the Borussia Dortmund man was present for the full 90 minutes against Belarus.

With Belgium's chief creative stalwart Kevin de Bruyne handed a rest, the scene was set for Thorgan Hazard to take center stage against one of the less illustrious sides in European football.

This, however, failed to happen, with the 27-year-old virtually a spectator while his teammates around him put up impressive shifts.

In total, the former Lens man registered just one shot on target and failed to create a single chance, which was rather disappointing considering how dominant his side were.

He had scored and assisted in Belgium's 3-1 victory over Wales last weekend and would have been looking to build on that with a fine performance to boost his confidence.

It does not bode well for a creative midfielder of Thorgan Hazard's standing not to have made any sort of impact in a game where his team ran riot, especially considering that he has several world-beaters ahead of him in the pecking order.

#1 Belgium extend impressive unbeaten run at home; send statement of intent over ambitions at Euros

Belgium are unbeaten in home qualifiers for 11 years
Belgium are unbeaten in home qualifiers for 11 years

Belgium are arguably favorites to claim glory at Euro 2020 and after a slight wobble against the Czech Republic on Saturday, the Red Devils were back to their brilliant best on home soil.

This convincing victory against Belarus means that the Benelex nation have won 13 straight competitive games at home.

They are also unbeaten at home in qualifiers for the World Cup or European Championship since suffering a 1-0 defeat to Germany in September 2010.

Since then, they have gone 26 games at home without defeat, winning 20 and drawing just six, with a whopping 98 goals scored.

Belgium have always fallen short despite promising so much in recent international tournaments, but this victory against Belarus with a second-string team reminded everyone of theirabilitiess.

The rest of Europe will do well to take note.

Edited by Rohit Mishra
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