FIFA World Cup 2022: Buried in talent but plagued with an aging defence, this is the last shot for Belgium's 'Golden Age'
Belgium's golden generation had the chance of lifting the World Cup in 2018. The 2014 team was touted by many experts as the strongest they have fielded and their exit in the semi-final was heartbreaking considering the amount of talent they had in that squad.
Fixtures: November 23 - vs Canada, November 27 - vs Morocco, December 1 - Croatia
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg)
Defenders: Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht), Toby Alderweireld (Antwerp), Wout Faes (Leicester City), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City).
Midfielders: Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Amadou Onana (Everton), Leandro Trossard (Brighton), Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid), Charles De Ketelaere (AC Milan), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge)
Forwards: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Dries Mertens (Galatasaray), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce), Lois Openda (Lens)
Lack of game time for Lukaku & Hazard
4 years later the scene is completely different for The Red Devils. The players look exceptionally well on paper but the injury woes continue for them. Romelu Lukaku who has been an integral part of the squad has had limited game time before the World Cup. The forward who is on loan at Inter has suffered injury blows and has only played once for the full 90 minutes this season. Coach Martinez feels that despite Lukaku's injury issues he can still make up for the knockout stages and they are hopeful of qualifying for the later stages. Captain Hazard's lack of game time at Real Madrid is another worry for the Belgium squad.
Not many people remember Kevin De Bryune's spell at Chelsea and what is heartbreaking for Chelsea's supporters it would be fair to say that the midfielder did prosper under Pep Guardiola. Arguably one of the best mid-fielders of the current generation, KDB will hold a key in Belgium's World Cup journey.
Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is the heartbeat of this Belgian side, while Wout Faes, Timothy Castagne and Youri Tielemans, Leander Dendoncker, midfielder Aamadou Onana, and Leandro Trossard are also picked will be key going forward in the tournament.
It would be fair to say that the likes of Lukaku and Eden Hazard despite their lack of luck can produce exceptional football on a given day. The addition of KDB and Thibaut Courtois in goal would be key if Belgium is to pose any threat in the tournament.