WORLD CUP FORECAST: Group H – Can Belgium cope with the high expectations?

Belgium are going into the 2014 World Cup with plenty of buzz around them after an impressive qualifying campaign.
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Belgium are going into the 2014 World Cup with plenty of buzz around them after an impressive qualifying campaign.

The Rode Duivels have a number of exciting players in their ranks which has prompted many to suggest that this could be a golden generation for Belgian football.

Marc Wilmots has a great amount of depth in his 23 which is gelled together by both experience and youthful exuberance and the fact they have been given a friendly draw is likely to play into their hands.

This could be the tournament that breathes life back into football in Belgium but it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to mix it with the world’s top few nations.

Belgium

Manager: Marc Wilmots

Fixtures: Algeria - June 17 (Belo Horizonte), Russia - June 22 (Rio de Janeiro), South Korea - June 26 (Sao Paulo)

Past outings against group opponents: Belgium have meet Algeria twice for one win and one draw. The most recent meeting resulted in a 3-1 win to the Rode Duivels in a friendly in 2003.

Belgium have played Russia eight times for three wins, one draw and four losses. They have met four times in the World Cup before with two wins each apiece. The most recent WC clash ended in a 3-2 win to Belgium in 2002.

The Belgians have beaten South Korea twice and drawn once in three encounters. They have two previous World Cup meetings which have resulted in a win and a draw, the most recent being a 1-1 result in 1998.

Key players: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United)

World Cup utopia: Making it past the quarter-finals.

Doomsday scenario: Failing to qualify for the Round of 16.

Qualified by virtue of: Finishing top of UEFA Group A qualifying.

Best result at a World Cup: Fourth (1986)

tribal’s forecast:

The foundation has been set for a big tournament for the Belgian national team.

A sound defence led by captain Kompany and talented keeper Thibaut Courtois – with the supporter of Daniel van Buyten, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – conceded just four goals in qualifying while there is plenty to like further up the pitch.

Fellaini, Mousa Dembele, Steven Defour, Kevin de Bruyne, Axel Witsel and Nacer Chadli add depth across midfield while Lukaku, Hazard, Kevin Mirallas, Dries Mertens and the supremely talented Adnan Januzaj create what could be an extremely devastating attack.

Forever in the shadows of neighbours Germany, France and Holland, 2014 could be the perfect platform for Belgium to come out of that little dark hole to become a powerhouse of European football.

To achieve that, they desperately need a successful World Cup and I am tipping them to move through the phases before potentially taking on Argentina in a quarter-final.

The stage is set for the hugely talented Belgium squad to stand up and restore some pride for their nation and I believe they will win over plenty of fans with their vibrant style under the guidance of their leading World Cup scorer Wilmots.

Prediction: Quarter-finals.

 
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