ROBERTO Martinez was disappointed to have missed out on a Group B encounter against Wales following the EURO2020 draw in Bucharest.

The Belgium manager began his coaching career in the Principality with Swansea City and was Everton manager when the club spent £28m to bring Romelu Lukaku, Belgium's top scorer in qualifying, to Goodison Park.

There are a host of other connections between the players in Martinez's squad and those in Ryan Giggs' Wales side but instead Belgium, the winners of Scotland's group during the qualification campaign, were paired with another team they know pretty well, Russia, who finished second in the same section, with Denmark and Finland also drawn out of the hat.

“Obviously, because of the staff background, it would’ve been fantastic to play against Wales, but Finland will bring the emotion and the excitement of participating in a major tournament for the first time in their history, and that’s something that will bring extra spice into the group,” said Martinez, who will face two tough 'away' games against Russia and Denmark in their respective host cities.


“It’s probably the hardest we could’ve had, playing Russia in Saint Petersburg in the first game, and then Denmark in the second in Copenhagen, and then going back to Saint Petersburg [for Finland]. Now, we need to adjust our preparation and we’ll make sure that the logistics are just right.

Despite the size of the task facing his side, Martinez says Belgium will relish the challenge, having reached the last eight at EURO 2016 in France and the semi-finals of World Cup 2018.

“There’s never been a tournament where you face two hosts, and it’s tough, it’s difficult. It’s difficult to understand,” added Martinez. “You are seeded, and you don’t play in a neutral venue. I think, as a seeded nation, you should be playing at least only one host, and you should be able to play teams that you’ve been above in a neutral venue.

“But that’s the beautiful aspect of this competition. If you want to be a nation that is going to progress to the final, you could be facing four or five host nations on the way to the final, and that’s why this tournament is quite unique.