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World Cup 2014: Belgium profile, roster, matches, live stream and TV info

May 28, 2014 By Samrin Hasib
One of the World Cup’s dark horses, Belgium, has a talent laden squad waiting to send shock waves through the world of football.

One of the World Cup’s dark horses, Belgium, has a talent laden squad waiting to send shock waves through the world of football.

History in World Cup:

Modern fans of the game are perhaps not used to seeing Belgium in a World Cup; however, older fans are definitely not shocked to see a former household name return to the biggest stage the game has to offer. Belgium qualified six consecutive times for the World Cup between 1982 and 2002, a record only bettered by the current Spanish side. This is their twelfth appearance overall in this prestigious competition.

The team ranked twelfth in the FIFA Rankings and eighth in the UEFA rankings lit up the 1986 finals. They were knocked out in the semifinals by Argentina after beating the Soviet Union, 3-4 AET, and Spain on penalties. They unfortunately lost the third place play-offs and finished the tournament in fourth.

Road to World Cup 2014:

Belgium must not have expected a smooth ride in qualification. However, they won eight of their ten qualifiers and came through to the World Cup, without a loss to their name. They topped a group consisting of Mario Mandzukic’s Croatia, Gareth Bale’s Wales, Macedonia, Scotland and Serbia. Belgium dropped points to the two strongest sides in their group, Croatia and Serbia, drawing both games, 1-1.

Player to Watch:

It is difficult to pick a single name in such a talented squad; however, the man who surely deserves special recognition is keeper Thibaut Courtois. Courtois’ excellence in the Spanish La Liga and the UEFA Champions League saw Atletico Madrid come within two minutes of being crowned Champions of Europe. He has been compared to Germany’s Manuel Neuer and is set for a return to Chelsea in the following season.

All About….Coach Wilmots!

Marc Wilmots, a UEFA Cup winner with Schalke 04 as a player, captained the national side from 1999 to 2002. He has brought Belgium back amongst the European powerhouses and has a contract till 2018 to enhance his project. Under Wilmots, Belgium knows no ceiling; they know how good they are. Wilmots has made Belgium believe in themselves.

A Glance at the Roster

Belgium’s roster is filled with talented players for almost every position. This tournament will perhaps be veteran defender Daniel Van Buyten’s last. The Belgian is set to leave Bayern this season after eight years of service to the German side; he is 36 years old and is gradually slowing down. Thomas Vermaelen, after a mediocre season by his standards at Arsenal, will look to show his capabilities; his defensive partner, Vincent Kompany, will be coming in filled with confidence after yet another title win with Manchester City. Marouane Fellaini has had a poor season at a vital time; his country will need him to be in top form.

Belgium will also count on Romelu Lukaku and the wonderfully talented Eden Hazard, the winner of the PFA Young Player of the Year Award in England this season. Kevin de Bruyne’s talents have been witnessed in the Bundesliga; he will be raring to go as well. And finally, youngster Adnan Januzaj, the topic of a national debate in England not too long ago, could shine if given the chance.

TV Information:

The Belgians, placed alongside Algeria, Russia and the Korea Republic in Group H, will be live on ESPN and ESPN 3 throughout their campaign. For more information, please visit the Belgium team page here.

 

 

 


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