September 6, 2012 by backofthenetjl
They may be 40th in FIFA’s latest rankings, but I believe that over the next few years, Belgium have what it takes to be a team competing at the top. They have some exceptional players in their squad, in all areas and positions. The depth in their squad is also very good and they have many young, talented players coming through their ranks.
Their manager Marc Wilmots, was a tremendous player in his day, featuring in 4 world cups, earning 70 caps for his country and also being the leading goalscorer for Belgium in World Cup history. He took over from Georges Leekens in May, originally on a short-term basis, though he was handed the job full time, on a contract until 2014. As soon as he entered the job as first team coach, his intentions and targets whilst manager was clear. He had an ambition of guiding the Red Devils to the World Cup in 2014.
This is their Era. Belgium have qualified for major tournaments before but they will never have a side as good as they do today, so they must take advantage of it. They shouldn’t live in the past, because this team, has the potential to win tournaments, they have the ingredients to do it. Obviously they needed to alter certain things, but if you look at their options they have in their squad, you cant’t help but feel they are capable of being up their with Spain, Germany and the rest of the big teams. In their friendly with England, just before the Euro’s, this was the game when many started to realise how good this team was. Despite losing 1-0, they were very impressive. Passing the ball, being comfortable on the ball, moving into space, exploiting space, counter attacking well and looking superb. It seemed crazy how they had not even qualified for the Euro’s. I rate their chances of competing at the top so highly, because they could virtually have two teams and they are both capable of producing the same level of performance. Although one is slightly weaker, they still possess players who are extremely talented.
A look at their options of 2 teams.
Simon Mignolet – A very steady and reliable goalkeeper, brave and a brilliant shotstopper, his distribution is also very good.
Toby Alderweireld – Usually a centre-back but he is brilliant when deployed as a right-back aswell. Comfortable on the ball and a great reader of the game, he will be a key player for Belgium over the next few years.
Vincent Kompany – Kompany is one of the best defenders around, an excellent tackler and a force in the air, very good at handling and dealing with the very best strikers. Has an important role as skipper and is an influential figure.
Thomas Vermaelen – A very cultured defender, he is very quick with the ball at his feet and has terrific aerial ability. He will attack when he feels he has the chance to and has a sensational partnership with Vincent Kompany.
Jan Vertonghen – Vertonghen is one of the best all around defenders around, very versatile and a defender known for his attacking abilities aswell as defensive. He has good vision and is a great leader on the pitch.
Marouane Fellaini – Fellaini is always a dangerous player for any opposition, so powerful and strong. No-one can ever knock him of the ball, he is a monster in the air and deserves a shot at a major tournament with Belgium.
Axel Witsel – Witsel has recently just moved to Zenit and is a player that I believe is very underrated. He is so calm and assured in possession and has the ability to play through a killer pass. Still only young and will be a key figure if they are to have success over the next few years.
Moussa Dembele – Such a classy player, who’s control on the ball is simply exceptional. He has unbelievable vision and a sublime first touch, he will always threaten to unlock opposition defences and will provide the link from midfield to attack. A big player for Belgium.
Eden Hazard – One of the greatest prospects around, now plying his trade with Chelsea and already taking the Premier League by storm. Blessed with mesmorising dribbling skills and accompanied with blistering pace and confident finishing, fearless and explosive, able to play on either flank, most countries will be gutted he is from Belgium.
Dries Mertens – A player that really impressed me against England, technically and naturally gifted. Very skilful and a real gamechanger with a huge career ahead of him. He was impeccable for PSV in his first season, notching up 21 goals, which I think is outstanding for a winger. I think one of the massive clubs in Europe should take a punt on him.
Romelu Lukaku- I feel he is one of the best youngsters about and it is a real shame he is yet to be given a real chance by Chelsea. Strong, quick and dominant in the air, a nightmare for centre-halfs. He has good movement and a rocket of a left-foot. Can’t believe he is only 19 and it will be great to see how he fares on a big international stage.
This team is predominantly Belgium’s preferred XI and it is full of wonderful players, some of the players are fairly inexperienced, but I think they have a good balance. They have quick, attacking minded players, strong and powerful players, a top goalkeeper and some magnificent readers of the game. In my opinion, this side has the potential to plan an assault on Germany and Spain, but they are not ready just yet as every project takes time.