BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s Eden Hazard scored twice and his brother Thorgan also got on the scoresheet in a 4-0 win over Cyprus as the already-qualified Group H leaders wrapped up their World Cup campaign on Tuesday.
Belgium were the first European side to secure a place in the tournament in Russia next year, while Cyprus arrived in Brussels knowing they would not be joining them. With little but pride at stake, Belgium showed why they are fifth in the world rankings with a totally one-sided win to make it nine victories from 10 in the group.
Coach Roberto Martinez changed five of his starting line-up from the 4-3 win in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday, with midfielder Kevin De Bruyne among those given some rest and Marouane Fellaini injured.
The result appeared settled in the 12th minute when Eden Hazard found the far corner of the net with a curling right-footed shot.
Thorgan, starting for the first time with his brother, scored Belgium’s second shortly after half-time, pouncing when goalkeeper Constantinos Panagi could only parry Michy Batshuayi’s shot into his path.
The older Eden then slotted in from the penalty spot after a handball from defender Giorgos Merkis. Romelu Lukaku, returning from injury, later muscled past Cyprus defender Giorgos Merkis for Belgium’s fourth.
Lukaku was unlucky not to score a second two minutes from time, when he was adjudged offside, although replays showed him in line with the last defender when played through.
On a largely celebratory night, home defender Jan Vertonghen also became Belgium’s most capped player, his 97th moving him ahead of Jan Ceulemans, who presented the record holder with a framed commemorative shirt before kickoff.
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge