World Cup: Scotland's Russell Martin hails Belgium as potential winners

Russell Martin praises 'world class' Belgium ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park

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Russell Martin believes Scotland's next opponents Belgium are potential winners of the 2014 World Cup.

The Scots entertain the Group A leaders at Hampden Park on Friday, with Martin describing their squad as 'a golden generation.'

The current crop of top Belgian players include: Simon Mignolet, Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas.

And the Norwich defender thinks they are more than capable of lifting the trophy in Brazil next summer.

Scotland have no chance of reaching next year's World Cup finals but Martin was quick to praise the Belgium squad, saying: "It's their golden generation coming through.

"It's no coincidence. They work extremely hard on their youth set-up over there.

"It's about identity as a nation and they've got that. If you look at their team, it's a powerful team.

"If you are looking at a team of athletes, they are right up there.

"They are powerful but they've got match-winners in their team as well.

"If you are looking at the World Cup - if they qualify from this group, which

I'm sure they will - they will be right up there.

"And in the Euros after that they are going to be a force.

"There are some great teams out there but I expect them to do very well in major tournaments soon."

As for Benteke, currently at Aston Villa, Martin added: "There are a lot of good strikers in the Premier League but, at this minute in time, he's probably right up there with the best strikers in Europe.

"He's a world-class player and he's a physical threat as well.

"I've played against (Robin) Van Persie, (Luis) Suarez, people like that and, at this moment in time, he's right up there and it will be a good test, that's for sure."