Scotland v Belgium: Roberto Martinez wary of wounded hosts

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‘The new generation of Scottish players have huge potential’
Euro 2020 qualifying: Scotland v Belgium
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Monday, 9 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website & app

Belgium will face a “wounded animal” in Scotland as they try to keep their Euro 2020 group hopes alive, says Roberto Martinez.

Anything but a victory for the Scots against the world’s top-ranked team effectively ends aspirations of automatic qualification.

The Belgians have only lost twice in their past 36 matches while Russia beat Scotland 2-1 on Friday.

“I expect a really tough game,” said their head coach.

“I thought the first 15 minutes against Russia is the best I’ve seen Scotland for many years. From their intensity, the intent, the quality in the wide areas to be able to get a really good formation and get players in good positions.

“Then there is the emotional side. Sometimes you have something to lose and you start performing in a different manner. We have to be very, very careful.

“I think we’re going to see a free Scotland team that can go and enjoy the 90 minutes. We have to be ready to perform under those circumstances.”

Belgium go into the Group I game having thumped San Marino 4-0 on Friday without striker Romelu Lukaku, who was benched for the match in Serravalle.

Last weekend the Inter Milan striker was subjected to racist chanting in his side’s 2-1 win at Cagliari, with him claiming football is “going backwards” on racism.

“I think Romelu is one of the modern footballers that he was born with the attention with the media following him at the age of 16 in Belgium,” said Martinez.

“He had a media crew following him around. They followed the expectation of a team having to win at Anderlecht with the Champions League participation. Then he had a big transfer to Chelsea, then he had time at West Brom before a big transfer fee to Everton. He then had another big transfer fee to Manchester Untied and now to Inter.

“Romelu doesn’t get affected. He is one of the most driven boys that you are going to see. His life is football. He lives to score goals and be effective for the national team and his club.

“I haven’t seen a difference. It’s true that he was sad with the episode he had to go through but I’m sure that’s something everyone in football will try to help him and the environment to eradicate. There’s no tolerance for that.”

Romelu Lukaku did not feature in Friday’s win over San Marino but could face Scotland

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