Belgium, the dark horses tipped so heavily that they'vs become serious contenders for this year's World Cup, struggled to overcome minnows Algeria in their first clash. So, do the Red Devils really have the quality to win the tournament?
In all honesty, Belgium contain only two world class players in Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard. They do, however, have many decent players such as the enigma that is Romelu Lukaku, who was hauled off yesterday after 60 minutes without a single shot on target.
Lukaku spent last season on loan and, while he produced some scintillating performances namely against Arsenal in April, he proved far too inconsistent. His performance yesterday must have left spectators wondering how he deserves the £25m price-tag placed on his head by Chelsea.
Belgian captain Vincent Kompany may well be lauded as ''the best defender in Europe'', however it was errors on his part that could well have cost Manchester City the title this past season.
Firstly with his red card against Hull City, which left his team-mates fighting for 80 minutes away at the KC Stadium, and his skewed clearance at Anfield nearly gifting the title to Liverpool, proved he's past his best. The truth is that while Belgium contain a handful of very good players, their team as a whole is fairly average and this was exposed by a poor Algerian side.
Belgium may not be the model of inter-ethnic cooperation it’s cracked up to be. The Dutch speaking Flemish north has long demanded independence from the Francophone Walloon South. Those in the north on the main feel strongly Flemish or Dutch, while in the south they mainly feel French.
The concept of a Belgian national identity is a very foreign one to many Belgians. When you add to this the culture of immigration in which 10 of the 23 members of their World Cup squad are the children of immigrants.
One has to question whether the passion other International players display when playing for their country can be replicated in such a divided and fractious state, or whether the fact they are playing in the World Cup should be enough motivation in itself.
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