Are Belgium about to break free?
If Belgium were to win World Cup 2018 it would be their first ever success at a major tournament. They did reach the semis back in 1986 but that was a long time ago now and they’ve failed to impress in any of their efforts since.
Belgium are fast-becoming one of the most over-hyped nations at this level with experts heaping on praise before a ball has been kicked only to end up with egg on their face. Spain fell into that bracket for many years before finally living up to expectations. Are Belgium about to break free?
On paper they have one of the most talented pools in the competition and it’s now about getting all those stars pulling in the same direction and working as a team, leaving egos at the door. Let’s look at three Belgians we expect to star…..
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Perfect timing for de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne
A contender for player of the year in England, the 26-year-old Man City midfielder will demand the spotlight in Russia. This competition comes at exactly the right time in his career and if he’ll be expected to take his teammates by the scruff of the neck and drag them through matches. Despite his age, he only has one more prime World Cup in him so the time to act is now.
Has been critical of his international manager in the build-up regarding tactics and how the team set-up but is just too gifted to be left at home. Belgium are 12/1 to win the trophy with de Bruyne a 100/1 poke to finish as top goal scorer. OK, but that’s not his game he’s more of a goal-maker and will be popular in dream teams this year.
Belgium finished top of Group H, scoring 43 goals in 10 matches and we’re hoping they carry that into the competition proper. They were dropped into a fairly poor division but did what they had to do to secure qualification.
If you’re after a scorer to take the team deep into the competition look no further than Romelu Lukaku. The 24-year-old Man Utd striker bagged a double against Saudi Arabi in a friendly recently and can be relied upon when things get serious. He’s already the country’s leading all-time scorer on 33 and he’s another big game player who will entertain fans. Lukaku is flying at the minute but still seems to be getting better with every game. We hope that continues. 25/1 to be top scorer – best price at Bet Victor.
There are plenty of defence-minded players who merit a mention here – Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Kompany and Vertonghen – but this team is engineered to attack opponents and score goals so we’re going to pinpoint captain Eden Hazard. His full-time employers haven’t had the best of seasons, but he has been one of their better players and most consistent performers. Has been capped at every level from U15 to the full-squad and is the beating heart of the team.
Hazard was a one-man army at times in London but insists he is not happy despite attracting a flood of praise for his efforts. He takes genuine pleasure from the results of Chelsea and his main desire is for the club to win football matches. He’ll carry that attitude to the World Cup and you’ll see him mucking in all over the park.