Before the European Championships started, Belgium were among the favourites to win the tournament, but after a bitterly disappointing result and performance against the Italians, it seems Belgium's 'golden generation' are destined for another disappointing summer.
Belgium's current squad is without doubt the most talented they have ever produced. The Red Devils boast a plethora of world class stars, including Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.
Marc Wilmots is the man who has been chosen to try to lead his home country to glory, but since taking over from Georges Leekens, after serving as his assistant manager for three years, Wilmots has struggled to find the right balance for his team.
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Belgium were also among the favourites at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago, and despite reaching the quarter finals, they struggled to reach their potential in the group stages against the lesser teams such as Algeria and South Korea.
Throughout the World Cup, Belgium's main men Hazard and De Bruyne struggled to reach their best levels, largely down to Wilmots' negative tactics, often resulting in long balls to Marouane Fellani.
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Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have formed a solid centre-half partnership at club level, but Wilmots continues to play the ageing Thomas Vermaelen, forcing Vertonghen to left-back.
Moussa Dembele, a midfielder with pace and very good technical ability, can't get into the first eleven despite a fantastic season with Spurs, and instead, Wilmots has opted for Axel Witsel and Fellani, representing a cautious approach.
Belgium's flat performances at the World Cup and against Italy have been a result of Wilmots' tactics, restricting the world-class ability of Hazard and De Bruyne, who have both struggled to have positive impacts on big games for their country.
Romelu Lukaku scored 18 goals for a struggling Everton side this season but doesn't look the same player under Wilmots, often being isolated up front. The manager's tactical naivety was again portrayed against Italy, with no alternative to Antonio Conte's impressive organisation.
Much like England did under Sven Goran-Eriksson, Belgium are in danger of wasting their golden generation. Their slow build-up play is far from easy on the eye and their managers game plan fails to get the best out of their attacking players.
Wilmots, a man who was sacked by Sint-Truidense, has no previous experience of managing at such a high level, and the Belgium football association will need to appoint a new manager if this talented group of players are to achieve what is expected of them.
Should Marc Wilmots lose his job if Belgium fails to perform this summer? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!
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