With the World Cup in the summer of 2014, and the teams that will compete in the WC becoming clearer, I’ll try to publish profiles of some exciting teams. This week – Belgium. Belgium qualified for the World Cup on Oct 11, 2013 by virtue of their win over Croatia, which landed them top spot in Group A of the European qualifiers.
Now, Belgium is not a team that is repeated in the same sentence as “World Cup contenders” (in fact, at the time of drafting this post, they aren’t even guaranteed a spot in the World Cup. Currently they sit atop Group A in the European qualifiers, with 2 games to go. If they can get one point from their remaining 2 games, they will finish top of the group and automatically qualify. If they finish second, they’ll be drawn into a 2-legged playoff and can potentially miss out), but this current team is full of promise and talent. Take a look at this formation of the Belgium national team.
Let’s start the back. In Simon Mignolet, the Liverpool stopper, they have a towering presence in goal. Mignolet is probably the best keeper in the Premier League right now, and has already made some superb saves for his new club. As a replacement, Thibaut Courtois is having a pretty good run with Atheletico Madrid.
In defence, Vincent Kompany – the Manchester City captain – leads this exuberant team. Kompany is easily the most experienced player in the team. Thomas Vermaelen, the now-fit-now-not-fit Arsenal captain, partners Kompany in central defence. If Vermaelen stays fit, this pair can be the bedrock on which the attack will be built on. Jan Vertonghen, of Tottenham Hotspurs, fills in at left full-back, and Toby Alderweireld from Atheletico Madrid at right full back. On the bench would be the veteran Daniel Van Buyten of Bayern Munich.
The midfield is a 3-man zone, with Moussa Dembélé (Tottenham) and Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) providing the cover for the defence and Kevin De Bruyne (Chelsea) playing the role of the link up between the forwards. Backup in midfield would be Steven Defour (Porto) and Axel Witsel (Zenit). The midfield is probably Belgium’s weakest link. De Bruyne, though full of promise, haven’t had too much playing time under Mourinho. Both Hazard and Mirallas (mentioned below) could be brought in to strengthen the midfield.
It is in the attacking third that Belgium has an embarrassment of riches. The starting eleven would feature Eden Hazard (Chelsea) in a wide left position and Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) in the center/right forward. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) would be the focal point of the attack. All three have been in the prolific form in the last and current season. Ready to take the field as substitutes would be Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Nacer Chadli (Spurs), Dries Mertens (Napoli), the latest sensation Zakaria Bakkali (PSV Eindhoven).
Note: The latest latest sensation Adnan Januzaj (ManU) hasn’t yet agreed to play for Belgium.
What would your Belgium team look like?