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Belgium extend Martinez’s contract ahead of World Cup




Coach Roberto Martinez, whose contract was due to finish at the end of the World Cup, has been handed a two-year extension, the Belgian football federation announced on Friday.

The news comes two days before Martinez reveals his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia.

“Since his appointment in August 2016, the federation has enjoyed a positive, professional and honest working relationship with Roberto Martinez,” the federation said in a press release.

Two of the Spaniard’s assistants, Englishman Graeme Jones and Spanish goalkeeping coach Inaki Bergara, should follow suit. A third member of his staff, Frenchman Thierry Henry, who has been linked to Arsenal, could leave to take charge of a club.

READ ALSO: Wenger, still in ‘shock’, sets deadline for future plans

Martinez, who previously managed Swansea, Wigan and Everton, replaced Marc Wilmots immediately after Belgium were eliminated by Wales in the quarterfinals of Euro 2016.

The Spaniard adopted a back three, which allowed him to deploy the attacking trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens together just behind centre forward Romelu Lukaku.

It worked a treat as Belgium stormed through their World Cup qualifying group, dropping just two points in 10 matches and finishing nine points clear of second-placed Greece.

At the World Cup, Belgium are in Group G and will play Panama (on June 18 in Sochi), Tunisia (23 June, Moscow) and England (28 June, Kaliningrad).

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