After their 2-1 victory over Brazil in the quarter-final of the 2018 World Cup in Kazan on Friday night, Belgium have given themselves the best possible opportunity to defy the odds and become world champions, albeit being faced with a tough semi-final tie against France. A Fernandinho own goal and a thunderbolt from Kevin de Bruyne gave Belgium a 2-0 lead at half time and despite Brazil pulling a goal back through Renato Augusto, the Europeans sealed the win and reached the semi-final of this competition for just the second time in their history. Despite this, they have a current squad which features numerous world class players and they will be tested to their limit if they are to claim world glory in the next two weeks.
In the last ten years, many Belgium internationals have joined the Premier League and have, therefore, received a lot more publicity in Britain than they would have in other countries. Many of those players have made a name for themselves in this country such as Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois. These are just a few names out of a very strong squad. In addition to this, both the record goalscorer and appearance holder of Belgium are current players who both play in the Premier League; Jan Vertonghen and Romelu Lukaku respectively. This shows that this Belgium squad could truly be their ‘golden generation’.
The Belgians were eliminated from the World Cup in 2014 by Argentina in the quarter-final stage as well as crashing out in the same round during Euro 2016 after Wales inflicted a shock 3-1 defeat at their expense. However, the quarter-final hoodoo did not affect Belgium this time around as they beat the five-time world champions, probably defying the odds.
Roberto Martinez would have had a selection headache before the tournament started, considering many of the Belgian internationals were established players at club level. Some players who were not selected like Rajda Nainggolan may have been forgiven for feeling a little hard done but, as already stated, this national side has many talented players and there would have been major competition and many players fighting for their spot before the selection process started.
Despite this, Belgium appear to have the strongest squad they could have possibly selected and arguably, one of the strongest squad at the tournament. Not many sides have the strength in depth that the Belgians have which so far, has paid dividends in their bid to win the World Cup. Coming from 2-0 down to beat Japan 3-2 was a pivotal moment in their tournament and possibly a sign that this talented team could go on and claim World Cup glory.
Can this Belgian squad become world champions? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @AllOutFootball_ with the hashtag #AOF!’