The Belgium national team visit Wales tomorrow night in the first game of qualifying for the World Cup in 2014.
The team from the low countries of Europe have not qualified for a major tournament in a decade, after previously being part of the furniture at earlier international tournaments.
However, the current generation of players in the Belgium national side is regarded as of the best they have ever produced.
Not only does Belgium have players reaching their peak, but they also have some outstanding youngsters coming through as well.
These should be exciting times for fans of the Red Devils. They have achieved some impressive results in recent times, including a 4-2 friendly win over neighbours Holland.
Anyway back to their squad strength. In their squad they have established Premier League performers such as Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany, Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen and Everton’s star player of the season so far Marouane Fellaini.
However, their most exciting player has to be Chelsea’s new arrival Eden Hazard. The winger has hit the ground running in the Premier League since his big money arrival at Chelsea from Lille this summer.
He isn’t the only Belgium player that has arrived in the English top flight this summer either. Strikers Kevin Mirallas and Christian Benteke joined Everton and Aston Villa respectively and are expected to make a big impact this season.
Highly-rated centre-back Jan Vertonghen joined Spurs and Moussa Dembele also joined Spurs from Fulham (although not a new arrival to the Premier League, just at a new club).
Add those players to the likes of Stefan Defour and Alex Witsel, who has just made a big money move to Russia with Zenit, and you have a foundation for a fantastic team.
Belgium also has a host of young players breaking into the international side. Chelsea owns a host of them and have loaned the youngsters out for them to gain first team experience. Striker Romelu Lukaku had made an impressive start to his loan spell with West Brom, before he was injured.
Keeper Thibaut Courtois is considered one of the finest young custodians in Europe and is currently enjoying his second season on-loan at La Liga side Atletico Madrid. Highly-rated winger Kevin De Bruyne is plying his trade in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen this season.
The current Belgium squad has some seriously talents players. It would be a crime for them not to experience a major tournament. Fellaini and Hazard have been two of the stars of the fledgling Premier League season so far.
Belgium faces a qualifying group which contains Croatia, Serbia, Wales, Macedonia and Scotland. None of those teams strike you with fear. Croatia had a decent European Championship, but they are hardly European heavyweights.
Serbia has been very inconsistent in recent years. Scotland hasn’t qualified for a major tournament in a while and it’s been even longer for Wales. Macedonia will be regarded as the whipping boys.
Belgium has an excellent chance of qualifying for Brazil 2014. Belgian legend and present coach Marc Wilmots just needs to turn a group of very talented individuals into a team. Should he do that then the Red Devils will have a good chance of mixing it with the big boys in Brazil.
The only problem Wilmots may encounter is big egos. The Dutch national side has the same problem. They have a bunch of talented individuals but can’t play as a team because their egos get in the way.
I suspect that there may be a few big egos in the Belgium team’s dressing room, but hopefully that won’t get in the way of the country fulfilling its immense potential.
Belgium football is on the rise. It seems that it’s currently fashionable to have a Belgium player in your team if you’re a Premier League club. So much so that Everton are attempting to sign their third Belgian player in Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe. The Toffees are just waiting for approval of FIFA to seal the deal.
It’s a sign of just how far that Belgium football has come that they have so many players playing key roles at Premier League clubs. Belgium football is definitely on the up. The current Belgium squad has the potential to go far and I think that they will prove it in the qualifiers.
Can Belgium qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil?
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