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Belgium's 'Golden Generation' Look to Finally Deliver on Big Stage | SWOT Analysis

From defense to midfield to attack, the Belgian national team is brimming with world class talents, who have been excelling on the European club level for the last few years. But in the last two international outings, their inexperience of dealing with the tormenting pressure while representing one's country, held them back. And after quarter-final finishes at both World Cup and Euros in last four years, the Red Devils seem to finally equipped with the firepower needed to go that few extra mile to glory.

Pratik Sagar | News18 Sports

Updated:June 13, 2018, 12:46 AM IST
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Belgium's 'Golden Generation' Look to Finally Deliver on Big Stage | SWOT Analysis
Belgium national football team. (AFP PHOTO)
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Rarely comes a time in a country's history that all the eleven positions on the football team is covered by world class talents — that team is called as the golden generation. England had them in 2002 & 2006, France will have them in 2022 & 2026 but Belgium have them now. After underachieving in the last editions of the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro Championships, the Belgians are finally mature enough and ready to fight it out for the ultimate prize in Russia.

From defense to midfield to attack, the Belgian national team is brimming with world class talents, who have been excelling on the European club level for the last few years. But in the last two international outings, their inexperience of dealing with the tormenting pressure while representing one's country, held them back. And after quarter-final finishes at both World Cup and Euros in last four years, the Red Devils seem to finally equipped with the firepower needed to go that few extra mile to glory.




STRENGTHS

Comparing Belgium with Manchester City won't be wrong by any stretch of imagination as both have somewhat similar playing style — free-flowing, good on the eye and excellent, attractive football. But that is not the only things that is common between the two sides. Midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne was one of the biggest reasons why the Citizen lifted the Premier League and League Cup in the recently-concluded 2017-18 season. His metronomic style of passing keeps the team ticking and with the array of talents that Belgium have at the front — Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens — expect plenty of goals being set-up by de Bryune.

On paper, Belgium's golden generation can make majority of the teams landing in Russia gasp with fear. And if attack is made up of superstars who have been scoring goals for fun in Europe, their defense is not different either. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is regarded as one of the best in the world and in front of him, he has a wall thicker and higher that the former great one in Berlin itself. Spurs duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany, PSG's Thomas Meunier and Barcelona's Thomas Vermaelen will be tasked to stop some of the best attackers in the world and if form and previous stats are anything to go by, they are more than capable of doing it.


WEAKNESSES

In the past, the Belgian national team have been guilty of focusing on individual brilliance rather than collective glory and that can be the reason for their downfall once again in Russia. The likes of Lukaku (Manchester United), Hazard (Chelsea), de Bruyne (Manchester City) and Dembele (Tottenham) are big rivals on the club level and they will have to put their differences aside if Belgium want to pull-off something spectacular at the tournament.

The other aspect that can hold Belgium back is the lack of in depth in the middle of the park, apart from the usual suspects. Yannick Carrasco, Nacer Chadli and Leander Dendoncker aren't big ticket players who would change a team's fortunes during a tight situation in a crunch match and that will be the time when the fans will be reminded of a certain fighter whom the coach opted to leave behind in Rome.


OPPORTUNITY

Belgium have never come close to tasting success at the World Cup and the best that they have achieved is a fourth-place finish in 1986, therefore the opportunity is there for the golden generation to etch their names forever in the history books. No one knows that Belgium will ever have such a talented squad at their disposal once again in the future, but with so much firepower in their rank, they have good solid chance of realising the country's dream of winning their maiden title.


THREAT

So far, the Belgian national team's fortunes have been similar to that of England's golden generation — so many high profile players but failed to achieve anything. England had one of the strongest squad in the world in 2002 and 2006 but they failed to deceive both the times. And so far, Belgium have been on a similar path but they would be desperate to change that this time around. In Roberto Martinez, they have an excellent level-headed coach, who has done well so far keep the team together. However, one more indifferent performance at an international event and it could all fall apart for the Red Devils.


SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels.

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Dedryck Boyata, Thomas Meunier, Vincent Kompany.

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco, Nacer Chadli, Leander Dendoncker, Kevin De Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans.

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku.

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| Edited by: Arjit Dabas
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