Belgium 9-0 San Marino: 5 Talking Points | Euro 2020 Qualifiers
Belgium became the first team to book their Euro 2020 place with a record-equalling 9-0 home thrashing in their qualifier against San Marino on Thursday. Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku was again among the goals while there were strikes for a forgotten man and talented teenager too.
This victory is Roberto Martinez's best in his 12-year managerial career and equalled their best scoring margin, a 10-1 win against the same opponents back in February 2001.
Most of their nine-goal haul were scored in a frenzied first-half, where their visitors conceded six in 17 minutes. Nacer Chadli, a Cristian Brolli own goal, Toby Alderweireld's deflected strike from distance, Youri Tielemans and Lukaku's brace - taking him past a milestone 50 goals for the Red Devils - proved more than enough for Roberto Martinez's men.
That was before Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke made it seven with a strike on the edge of the area which deceived goalkeeper Simone Benedtettini before nestling into the bottom corner. The goal was his first since a brace against Russia in March 2017 for the national team and will give him confidence, while a brutal scoreline regardless of the opposition is never a negative with Kazakhstan up next on Sunday.
There was still time for two further goals as substitute Yari Verschaeren scored from the penalty spot, having been upheld by Brolli before Atalanta defender Timothy Castagne made it nine just before stoppage-time.
The loudest groan was seconds before full-time, pushing in search of their record-breaking goal but Club Brugge forward Hans Vanaken headed into the goalkeeper's gloves from a promising corner. With that in mind, here's a look at five talking points from Belgium's latest victory:
#5 Remember the name, Yari Verschaeren
It seems cliche to say but rarely does a teenager feature as part of Belgium's senior side - stacked with quality across the pitch - and not look out of place.
Anderlecht's 18-year-old attacking midfielder Yari Verschaeren, who can also play in holding midfield and out wide, made his national team debut last month late on against Scotland. With 21 caps at various age-groups including a memorable summer at U-21 level, he's shown the type of composure beyond his years to justify such hype in his ability and potential.
Replacing Mertens midway through the second-half, he won and scored a penalty late on after being upheld in the box before playing an instrumental role in Belgium's final goal of the evening. Fizzing an inviting cross into the box with Benteke lurking, Davide Simoncini's interception only helped set up Castagne who fired home from close-range.
Having become the 13th-youngest player in Belgian history to feature for the senior side in September, the onus will be on him to retain his place among a multitude of world-class players with consistent displays, both on international duty and with Anderlecht. His displays have already attracted interest abroad, with Southampton among the clubs said to be tracking the teenager's progress.