Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez said his side had been given a “challenging” draw for the World Cup on Friday, but that his squad full of Premier League stars would relish playing England.
The 44-year-old Spaniard, who built his coaching career as manager of Swansea City, Wigan Athletic and Everton in Britain, will be hoping to help Belgium improve on their quarter-final showing from 2014.
Martinez’s team will play their final Group G game against England in Kaliningrad on June 28.
“I lived for 21 years in England so it is very special,” Martinez told the BBC.
“It’s the World Cup, we have a challenging draw, lots of travelling. We are looking forward to it.”
The majority of Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ ply their trade in England’s top flight, with the team led by Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku. Others are; Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli (formerly at Spurs) Mousa Dembele (Spurs) Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweid both from Spurs.
Others are; Michy Batshuayi ( Chelsea), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Divock Origi (Liverpool), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool) and Kevin Mirallas (Everton).
Also capable of making it to the squad are; Laurent Depoitre (Huddersfield Town), Steven Defour (Burnley), Christian Kabasele (Watford), and Charly Musonda (Chelsea)
“We have a really good group of players, 25 players are now in the British game so are very well known,” Martinez added. “They have important roles in important teams and they enjoy playing for their country.” Belgium, who also reached the Euro 2016 last eight, will open their campaign against World Cup debutants Panama in Sochi on June 18, before taking on Tunisia in Moscow on June 23.