There are certain nations that you always expect to be in the running for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and then there are teams that suddenly shine for a limited amount of time. That team right now is Belgium, as they have a group of players that have been deemed the Golden Generation. Despite the wealth of talent that this group has from top to bottom, they have failed to make it happen at a major tournament. The key players are all still relatively young, but you get the sense that this is the year when they really need to put it all together.
📸 #TUN have arrived at their Moscow Team Base Camp 🙌
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 11, 2018
Belgium’s World Cup History
This will be the 13th appearance at the World Cup for Belgium, but they have seldom made any sort of major impact. Their best performance came in 1986 in Mexico, when they made it to the semi-finals before losing to Argentina. It was the same team who knocked them out at the quarter-final stage at the last World Cup in Brazil. This is a team that is very obviously talented, yet they always seem to fall flat on the biggest stages.
How Belgium Made it to the 2018 World Cup
The Belgians strolled through the qualification phase, albeit in a group where they were the obvious class team. The fact that they were able to tear apart the other teams in the group bodes well for them moving forward. It’s fair to say that they finally lived up to expectations on the road to Russia, and the 43 goals that they scored in the process will have almost certainly put every other team on notice ahead of the start of this tournament on June 14.
Who Will Belgium Face in Group G
Belgium is the favorites in Group G, and they look like a lock to move on with England. Panama and Tunisia are the final two teams in this group, so you can see that this should be a straightforward task for the Belgians. They could in fact already have punched their ticket into the knockout stage when they face England in their final game in Group F.
Belgium Strength’s and Players to Watch
Belgium is absolutely loaded at every position on the field, but it is perhaps the midfield where the best work is done. Kevin De Bruyne is coming off a stellar season with Manchester City, and you can expect him and Eden Hazard to act as the supply chain to Romelu Lukaku, who scored 12 goals in the qualifying stage. It really is tough to find a weakness in this squad.
If there is one concern that I have with the Belgians, it’s that they have yet to find a way to take all that talent and play as a cohesive unit. The manner in which they made it to Russia suggests that they may finally be putting it all together under the watchful eye of Roberto Martinez. Belgium is deservedly in as one of the favorites to win it all this time around, but it is going to be interesting to see how they come together early. If they can lay a beating on Panama and Tunisia, we may see a team that gels and makes a deep run.
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