The Red Devils are widely known to be in the golden generation of their football history. This golden generation, believed to have started in 2014, looks to be in its twilight years, with the core of the team nearing retirement age. Could this be their year, or will the small nation from Europe have to lay in wait to see success on the international stage.

In this post, you’ll Read about
History of Belgium at the World Cup and major competitions
Manager Profile
Tactical Analysis
Strengths
Weaknesses
Belgium World Cup route

History of Belgium at the World Cup and major competitions

The team went from not qualifying in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups to becoming one of the main title contenders at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. This shift was marked by the talented pool of players that popped out of nowhere over the past decade. Despite having world class players such as Hazard and KDB at different positions, the team has struggled to do well in the knockout stages of any major tournaments, failing to reach any finals.

Manager Profile

Belgium has been managed by Roberto Martinez since 2016. He managed clubs such as Wigan and Evevrton before his tenure at Belgian. Martinez has always been within touching distance of a trophy with Belgium. His greatest managerial achievement would be winning the FA Cup in 2012–13 with Wigan. 

Golden Generation

Tactical Analysis

Now let’s look at how Belgium has set itself up in the past. Roberto Martinez has stuck to choosing a 3-4-3 formation, with no flexibility for change even after recent disappointments. Choosing similar players to start has allowed the team to build chemistry and a style of play over time, with Romelu Lukaku becoming the obvious outlet for goals in the side. Lukaku’s dip in performance and injuries over the last 2 years for his clubs can prove detrimental for the side’s World Cup campaign. He has already been sidelined, with Mitchy Batshuayi and Leandro Trossard taking charge of the goal scoring in the recent Nations League. The two major sources of chance creation historically have been Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. Kdb is in fine form and has finished 3rd in the Balon d’or race, whereas Hazard has struggled to find his feet ever since his big money move to Madrid. Recurring injuries and poor fitness have made the Belgian captain’s football career a living nightmare. Positives can be seen through Tielemans and Batshuayi, who have been instrumental in creating chances for the team. Though the team finished 2nd in their nation’s league group, they lost both their games against the Dutch, proving to be another sign of their struggles against big teams in important games. This lack of big game mentality could affect the team in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Golden Generation

Strengths

The main strength of this team lies in the individuality of the players; each player is only as good as the player around him. Axel Witsel, who has played the most minutes, is also responsible for the number of goals Belgium scores when he is on the pitch. The team has strong forwards in Lukaku and Batshuayi, who link up well with wingers, wingbacks, and the midfielders around them. The versatility of the fullbacks helps solidify the status of the 3-4-3 formations, with them being able to defend well and be quick and creative when attacking. Assuming key players like De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku, and Courtois step up, there could be no stopping this formidable force. Belgium is gifted with ace shot stopper Courtois, who just won the Yashin Trophy. Courtois is in the best form of his life and will prove vital in defense as well as penalty shootouts. Jeremy Doku was a standout player during the 2020 Euros and will be the biggest surprise package for Belgium this year. Kevin De Bruyne might well be the best midfielder in the world at the moment, and this could be his world cup.

Golden Generation

Weaknesses

The most glaringly obvious weakness of the team would be the slow and ageing centre backs in Toby Alderweireld and Jan Verntonghen. The formation Belgium play with could leave the centre backs exposed with no cover from the wingers, causing the opponents to have more chances by overloading the Belgian defence with their forwards. Though Alderweireld has been their best centre half through the nation’s league and Euros, the team lacks the resources for better centre backs to play alongside him. Leander Dendoncer and Boyata may have important roles with Jason Denayer also an option if he is called up by the boss. The biggest liability Belgium have at this moment is their captain Eden Hazard, with him not getting game time for his club and being the captain of the national side, he cannot be dropped due to the virtue of the name he has made for himself. His role in the team can make or break Belgian hopes in the world cup. Belgium lack the big game mentality and need to step up in the knockout stages of the world cup.

Golden Generation

Belgium World Cup route

Belgium look strong enough to top their group even though they have the runners up from the previous World Cup in Croatia as their biggest challenge. Belgium is a team that can surprise the world this time around, but they are also the same team that is expected to lose their first knockout game, which in all probability will be to Spain or Germany, who are currently on a similar tangent as them. We believe that Belgium should be able to get past the Round of 16, and the confidence from there will see them go on to do well in the further rounds.

Players to watch out for

Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne,Romelu Lukaku, Thorgan Hazard, Michy Batshuayi, Axel Witsel and Thibaut Courtois

Young talent to look out for

Jeremy Doku, Arthur Theate, Charles De Ketalaare and Zeno Debaast.

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