Martinez has to find tournament formula

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Belgium became the latest country to confirm their place at the World Cup, after another victory on Sunday, but there is lots of work to be done before the Red Devils can challenge for the ultimate prize.

Roberto Martinez’s side (14/1 Outright betting) have gone through their opening eight games unbeaten, recording seven wins and a draw. A 2-1 away success in Greece was the result that sealed their place in Russia.

The strength in depth of Belgium’s squad is very impressive, especially when you consider that seven Premier League players were in their starting XI on Sunday.

Along with their massive English-based contingent, Martinez has the likes of Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco, Napoli forward Dries Mertens (33/1 Champions League top scorer) and Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen at his disposal.

But the concern amongst their fans and those looking to back Belgium, will be their form in major tournaments.

They were among the favourites to win Euro 2016 and fell well short, losing to Chris Coleman’s Wales in the last eight. They haven’t been past the quarter finals at a World Cup since 1986, when they lost to Diego Maradona’s Argentina.

The ease of which they have qualified from Group H shouldn’t mask how poor the group was, with the likes of Gibraltar, Cyprus and Estonia featuring.

The others to have confirmed their place, alongside the hosts, in next year’s big event are South American giants Brazil (13/2 to lift the trophy), Asian duo Iran and Japan and CONCACAF group winners Mexico.

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