EURO 2020

Martínez: "Hazard needs to take the next step"

Roberto Martinez said Eden Hazard just needs to add goals and a killer final pass to his game after proving his fitness at Euro 2020.

Hazard needs to take the next step – Martinez

Eden Hazard is feeling strong and happy according to Belgium coach Roberto Martínez, who urged the Real Madrid forward to build on his performance in Monday's 0-2 win over Finland.

After coming on as a substitute in Belgium's two opening matches at Euro 2020, Hazard started against Finland and gave Markku Kanerva's side no end of problems alongside Romelu Lukaku and Jeremy Doku. Hazard, who battled through an injury-plagued 2020-21 season in which he made just 14 LaLiga appearances, played all 90 minutes against Finland and impressed his coach.

Martínez delighted with Hazard performance

Martínez told reporters: "He [Hazard] pushed himself and got into good positions. He looks free, twisting right and left. He feels strong, happy, his body is reacting well. The next step is now to see Eden with that final pass, that shot that finishes in the back of the net. I was delighted with his performance."

Since losing 1-0 to France in the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup, Belgium have scored in 33 consecutive matches in all competitions. Victory over Finland ensured Belgium have won all three group games at back-to-back major tournaments (2018 World Cup and Euro 2020), and booked them a round of 16 match against the third-placed side from Group A, D, E or F in Seville on Sunday.

Belgium's most recent match in Spain ended in a 5-0 defeat to the home side in a 2010 World Cup qualifier featuring Hazard alongside Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen.

Martínez underlined the importance of his side hitting top gear, saying: "This team has been very consistent over the last five years. It's now about getting every individual at their very best. We're going to play in Seville and we'll need to adapt and have every player ready and prepared to make the team better."