Belgium became the first side to confirm their qualification for next year’s European Championship after a 9-0 thrashing of minnows San Marino on Thursday evening.
With a perfect record of seven wins from seven and only one goal conceded, Belgium will now be looking to cement first place in Group I.
With the game held in Brussels’ King Baudouin Stadium, the scoring was opened just before the half-hour mark by Romelu Lukaku, who notched his 50th senior international goal on his 83rd appearance.
Lukaku added a second before half-time, but not before Nacer Chadli and a Cristian Brolli own goal had made the result safe. A second own goal from Andrea Grandoni and a stoppage-time strike from Youri Tielemans left Belgium with a healthy 6-0 lead at the interval.
Christian Benteke added a seventh with 10 minutes to play before Yari Verschaeren made it eight from the spot and Timothy Castagne scored in stoppage time.
With next summer’s tournament set to take place all around the continent, Belgium may well be targeting Euro 2020 as the best chance for their current golden generation to win a major international title.
By the time the Euros kick off, Lukaku will be 27, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois all 29 and Dries Mertens 33.
While the likes of Verschaeren, Tielemans and Jens Teunckens will be hoping to take their places in the years to come, this is likely to be the best opportunity for what is undoubtedly the most talented generation of footballers Belgium has ever produced.
Russia, meanwhile, had also been hoping to confirm their qualification on the same night but were made to wait after third-placed Cyprus scored two late goals to claim a 2-1 win away to Kazakhstan.