In terms of the national team, the Belgians have always somewhat underachieved. However, their squad is very strong and the moment, and they could be one to watch in Brazil. Here’s what we think:
GK’s: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels or Silvio Proto (One or the other, according to Wilmot)
DF’s: Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Anthony Vanden Borre, Laurent Ciman, Daniel Van Buyten, Toby Alderweireld, Nicholas Lombaerts.
MF’s: Nacer Chadli, Steven Defour, Axel Witsel, Moussa Dembele, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj, Kevin Mirallas, Divock Origi.
FW’s: Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens.
Coach – Marc Wilmots.
Belgium Qualified well, ending top of their group and automatically for the World Cup. They were unbeaten in the 10 games, winning 8 and drawing 2. They only scored 18, but conceded just 4. As with most Groups, there wasn’t much competition. Wales, Scotland and Macedonia were not exactly hard games, but they overcame Serbia and Croatia well.
Ones to Watch:
Romelu Lukaku – At his first World Cup, Belgium are relying heavily on this young man, since Christian Benteke is injured. He has been in great form for Everton, and is in double digits for the season for a 2nd season running.
Eden Hazard – Recently he has fallen by the wayside, struggling under Jose’s negative tactics. Belgium have a side full of attacking talent, so he may be allowed to do what he does best, and not defend for most of the game.
Thibaut Courtois – Currently one of the best keepers in the World, he has won La Liga, possibly the Champions League – will he lead Belgium to a stunning World Cup? In all seriousness though, he holds the key to a solid back four, they should get past the group stages, but when they face better opposition his shot stopping could make a huge difference.
(4-3-3/4-5-1): Courtois, Vanden Borre, Vermaelen, Kompany, Vertonghen, Witsel, Defour, Fellaini, Hazard, Mirallas, Lukaku.
There are a few interesting choices for Wilmots – De Bruyne, Mertens and Dembele could all start, but at the moment we think Mirallas, Defour get the places in Centre Midfield and Left Wing. Hazard is a shoe-in to start, as are the back 5 and Witsel, and even maybe Fellaini. They have a very good midfield, so plenty of choice for the coach.
Group Winner – 4/7
Qualify – 1/6
Stage of Elimination:
- Round of 16 – 5/4
- Quarters – 11/4
Winner – 14/1
- Over 6.5 – Evens
- 7 Points – 11/4
- 9 Points – 21/10
We can definitely see Belgium getting past the groups, with at least 7 points. Quarter Finals is my prediction, at 11/4. They will meet a giant and get knocked out.They face Russia, Algeria and South Korea – all very beatable. A problem they have had in the past, and even some say it now – they are a team of great individuals, and often struggle to perform as a team. A good deal of their players play in the Premier League now – some at the same club. They could go far in this tournament, but I can only see them going as far as the Quarters.
Top Tip – Over 6.5 Group Points – Evens