FIFA World Cup 2022 : In Focus – Belgium National Team

Last Updated on 16/11/2022 by

As Roberto Martinez prepares to lead Belgium in his final World Cup, this might be it for the “Golden Generation” of the country.

Even though Belgium is actually ranked as the second-best men’s side in the world by FIFA, only behind Brazil, after a 3rd finish in World Cup in Russia in 2018, there seems to be little hope that they can advance one game further and win the trophy.

Belgium team for World Cup
pic @twitter

Simply put, too many team members have aged and only Courtois and De Bruyne now represent true world-class players who are still in their prime. The best years of players like Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Witsel, Mertens, Hazard, and even Romelu Lukaku have come and gone, but they still make up a sizable portion of the squad.

Belgium confirmed squad for the World Cup

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels.

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Wout Faes, Jan Vertonghen, Arthur Theate, Thomas Meunier, Zeno Debast, Timothy Castagne.

Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne, Amadou Onana, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Hans Vanaken, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Yannick Carrasco.

Forwards: Eden Hazard, Charles De Ketelaere, Leandro Trossard, Dries Mertens, Jeremy Doku, Romelu Lukaku, Lois Openda, Michy Batshuayi.

Romelu Lukaku, who has only played in four Serie A games so far this season, will be Belgium’s main area of concern regarding his health. After two months of recovery from a hamstring injury, the striker suffered a quad injury on October 29 against Sampdoria. Despite breaking his cheekbone during Dortmund’s victory over Hannover on October 19, right wingback Thomas Meunier will be able to participate in the competition. Due to a knee injury, Alexis Saelemaekers, a potential competitor for that position, will be absent from the competition entirely.

Players to watch

Thibaut Courtois

The goalkeeper for Real Madrid, who is currently among the best in the world at his position, might have his work cut out for him in Qatar. Courtois, who is 30 years old and has 96 caps to his name, is a key player for Belgium. At the most recent World Cup, he made the most saves with 27 in seven games, taking home the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper.

Kevin De Bruyne

It’s difficult to overstate how much Belgium depends on Kevin De Bruyne’s individual brilliance now that captain Eden Hazard is deteriorating. The Manchester City player will act as a roaming playmaker for his nation higher up the field, but Leandro Trossard entering the starting lineup for Belgium and him playing as one of two central midfielders may be more advantageous. De Bruyne has scored 25 goals in 93 international games for his nation, but it is his capacity to create opportunities that makes him so important to Roberto Martinez and Belgium.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku, who has received over 100 national team caps, is by far Belgium’s most prolific international goal scorer. 57 of the 68 goals the 29-year-old has scored so far have come in his last 60 Red Devils appearances. He scored four goals for Belgium during the 2018 World Cup, and he repeated the feat at the postponed Euro 2020, demonstrating that his goals also occur at crucial moments. Furthermore, Lukaku is the type of striker who scores a variety of goals and rarely requires a second invitation when given the opportunity to score. Yes, he has an injury going into the competition, but even with that, he still poses a serious threat.

World Cup history

The 4-1 home loss to the Netherlands in June stands out, despite the fact that Belgium went on to come from behind and destroy Poland 6-1 in the subsequent match. Since then, both their victories over Poland and Wales have lacked inspiration, as has the game itself. Virgil Van Dijk’s goal from a corner in their most recent game, a narrow 1-0 loss to the Netherlands, hasn’t given them much hope for the competition.

Belgium game plan

Tried and true methods of Roberto Martinez’s tactical approach, Belgium is probably the easiest teams to anticipate throughout the 2022 World Cup. He is unlikely to make any significant changes to the starting eleven, and they will continue to play in the same 3-4-3 formation they have used for the full extent of his six-year tenure as manager.

While the midfield and defence appear to be set, Lukaku’s injury will force Michy Batshuayi to start as the central forward in front of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. Martinez’s choice of which centre back to team with dependables Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen may be the only difficult choice he has to make.

Belgium team for World Cup
pic @twitter

In the Nations League matchups against the Netherlands and Wales, the Anderlecht defender Zeno Debast, 19, was chosen despite his inexperience. Leander Dendoncker could be moved back to the centre of the field by Martinez in order to provide more mobility. Although Arthur Theate of Rennes is more accustomed to playing in a back four, he might be the best option.

All things aside, this Belgium squad is not nearly as dangerous as it once was, and they will find it difficult to continue on as far as they did in Russia. Belgium’s playmaking prowess should be enough to get them through a challenging group that includes Croatia and Morocco, but after that, they may run into either Spain or Germany. Without a fully fit and firing Lukaku at the other end, there isn’t enough of a goal threat. Any team with pace could severely expose Alderweireld and Vertonghen in the backline.



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