Belgium have slowly been getting the recognition they deserve, and with the World Cup only next year, they could be ready to take the competition by storm. Here's why Belgium could light up the international stage.
Golden revolution of Belgium football
This particular point of time is considered as the golden period of Belgian football, as they possess plenty of specialists in all the positions around the field. Their records in the recent days have been simply astonishing. The immense growth in all the departments is awesome.
Probable starters: Jan Vertonghen, Daniel Van Buyten, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Guillaume Gillet
Since his move from Ajax to Spurs in the summer, Jan Vertonghen’s presence in the starting XI has become an inevitable event. Possessing the ability of playing as a centre-back as well as at left-back, Vertonghen has played a crucial part in Spurs defence this season. Vertonghen’s ability was limited only with defence as he can create enough number of chances for the strikers, and even puts himself on the scoresheet if there is a possibility. The brace against Liverpool in the early March highlights his goalscoring abilities.
Belgian defence contains yet another versatile player in the name of Anderlecht’s Guillaume Gillet. The 28-year-old player has the ability to play centre-midfield as well as the right-back, giving his maximum in any of the positions he plays. His goal against Croatia in the World Cup qualifiers last September, which ended in 1-1 draw, was found to be his notable contribution for his nation.
Central defence of Belgium seems to be very strong with Van Buyten and Kompany taking the role. Van Buyten has been enjoying a fine run with Bayern Munich this season, playing almost every game for the German super power. Van Buyten has not been failing to replicate his partnership from Dante to Kompany. The understanding between the centre-backs when Van Buyten is on is simply awesome. Kompany, who had enjoyed a title-winning season with Man City, is capable of producing plenty of impressive performances.
Probable starters: Moussa Dembele, Kevin Mirallas, Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel
The role which has provided Moussa Dembele in Spurs is different from the role he played in Fulham. Martin Jol played Dembele as playmaker during the player’s years in Craven Cottage whereas Andre Villas-Boas has operated the 25-year-old in defensive midfield. Dembele’s performance as playmaker was good but his involvement as the defensive midfielder has certainly brought much more credits. At present, his partnership with Scott Parker is awesome. The way he brings people into play makes him a perfect defensive midfielder.
When we discuss box-to-box midfielders in modern football, we can add players like Chile’s Artuto Vidal, Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure and the list is incomplete if we fail to add the big name, Marouane Fellaini.
The 25-year-old Everton midfielder is serving as the real threat for opponents as he can cause danger at any position in the field. His stamina, pace and long-range passing has made his worth rise in recent months.
Kevin Mirallas is yet another player on Merseyside - a midfielder who possesses the ability to devastate the opponents defence.
Mirallas' role at left-midfield is to be praised and the game against Liverpool in October had proved his extraordinary ability. As Fellaini and Mirallas play for the same club, they have much more understanding and cause real threats to the opponents when it comes to the international stage.
Eden Hazard has been a big hit since coming to England. After a series of speculations, the 21-year-old winger decided to join the Champions League winners Chelsea, for a reported fee of £32.5m.
Arriving at Stamford Bridge, Hazard made an immediate impact under Roberto Di Matteo. Hazard’s role in the current Chelsea side is different. Hazard scored a spectacular goal against Manchester United in FA Cup quarter-finals from the left corner of the box and this goal had brought Chelsea back into the game in which the Blues posted a dramatic comeback from two goals behind to draw 2-2 at Old Trafford. Recently, he scored the second goal for Belgium against Macedonia from the penalty spot.
Axel Witsel has many admirers playing in Russia and is another player that could attract interest from Premier League clubs.
Probable starters: Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku
Apart from Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku is another striker who has been looking for a starting berth, but as the finishing abilities of Benteke has proven to be more efficient than Lukaku, coach Wilmots has been preferring the former in recent days. Though Aston Villa is threatened by relegation this season, Benteke’s performances have never been brought into question.
Benteke gets credit not only because of his scoring abilities, but also because of his spectacular assisting quality. His goals at Anfield and the Madjeski Stadium highlights his class.
World Cup 2014
Belgium are currently holding the second place of Group A in World Cup qualifying table with 13 points from five games played, only behind Croatia on goal difference. Considering the present strength of the squad, it is expected that Belgium can qualify for the tournament in Brazil. If they qualify, then what impact can they have?
Even if Belgium reach the semi-final or final just like Uruguay, South Korea and Turkey did in past editions of the grand tournament, it won’t cause much surprise.
With the quality they possesses, I reckon it will be a spectacular treat for the football fans to watch Belgium in Brazil next year.
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