May 20, 2024

World Cup 2018 Team Preview: Belgium

World Cup 2018 Team Preview: Belgium
Belgium National Team. Photo/Courtesy

Belgium National Team is arguably among the most talented teams Russia bound. Under the leadership of Roberto Martinez, this talented group is expected to brush off their former lack of success in previous tourneys and make a point.

There are no more major league games across the globe and all the thrill is now directed towards the world's biggest sporting event. Most of the national teams participating in the event, slated for the 14th June to July 15th, have already submitted their 23-man squads and others looking to beat the June 4, deadline.

One of the teams to watch this season is the Belgium National Team who has arguably one of the most talented teams headed for the tourney in Russia. Under the leadership of Roberto Martinez, this talented group is expected to brush off their former lack of success in previous tourneys and scale higher.

The Belgium National Team has only made it twice to the quarterfinals of the World Cup tournament. Their last outing was during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. They have shown some improvement in the recent past including reaching the quarterfinals of the European Championships in 2016 losing to Wales. Their road to this year's World Cup was quite easy after they topped their group.

They are placed in Group G with England, Panama and Tunisia. England is considered their toughest challenger even though they have a good familiarity with them. The ground is level for the world to see how far they can contend with the magic from favourites like Spain, Brazil, Germany and Argentina.

Players to watch in the Belgium National Team During the World Cup

Dries Mertens (Napoli)

Dries Mertens is definitely a player to watch. Not only in the Belgium squad but also in the entire tourney. The pacy striker has had a prolific season, banging the net 18 times during the just concluded season for Napoli. His strength is on the counter-attack and build-up play. Many have pitted him to link up well with Romelu Lukaku whose physical presence has bullied English Premier League defences in a Manchester United jersey. There is one thing about Mertens that sets him apart among his Belgium counterparts, he always delivers for his country, a feat that can be seen during the qualifying rounds where he had seven assists and five goals to his name in just 9 appearances for Belgium.

Moussa Dembele (Tottenham)

Tottenham Hotspurs have enjoyed a good run in the English Premier League, and Moussa Dembele has been part of that success. He has obviously been immense in the middle of the pack for the entire season. This is probably the reason why he earned a call-up to the Belgian team with much ease. His holding midfield role is as well among the best in Europe with his power that terrorizes opposing defences. Being a holding midfielder, it is not easy to argue with numbers unless you are a wizard (and few exist in football) but you cannot underscore his influence on a team. He definitely qualifies in this bracket as one of the players to be watched during the World Cup in Russia. The man is relentless and his gliding and tackling tact makes him central to any team. Partnered with Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, the middle pack will be as lethal as we have never seen in a Belgian jersey.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

It is still unbelievable that up until now, Eden Hazard is yet to show his teeth for the country in a significant event. He has shown his brilliance, tact and mettle for Chelsea over time, a feat that has earned him The Premier League Player of the Year trophy. He has also been subject to transfer speculations to some of the best and most consistent clubs in the world including the Los Blancos, but international glory for him has been elusive. Could this be the year Hazard puts on his hazards and unveils his hazardous form? He is good with the ball. His dribbling speed, ball control and finishing is a hazard to any opponent. He is elite and Roberto Martinez needs to know how to use him to put him among the football greats. Watching him in Russia will be thrilling.

Over to you Roberto Martinez.