3 Flaws Belgium Need To Iron Out In Order To Win The World Cup
Belgium arrived in Russia, boasting of one of the most talented squads in the tournament. Two group games later, one can say that Belgium have done complete justice to the talent in their ranks. They opened with a 3-0 victory against Panama and continued their red-hot scoring form against Tunisia, outclassing them 5-2.
The Belgians have an embarrassment of riches in the attacking third while their midfield is one to be envious of. In addition to this, they have steady, proven defenders in their squad.
However, the first couple of games have also brought to light a few chinks that exist in the Belgian armor. While they are not major weaknesses, Belgium need to overcome these if they are to go deep into the tournament. If Belgium are able to tide over these difficulties, we might have new World Cup winners, come the 15th of July.
#3 Defend set-pieces better
Belgium adopt a zonal marking approach when defending from set-pieces. If played to perfection, this method is very effective. However, even a slight miscommunication leads to devastating consequences. In both their games, Belgium have faced problems defending set-pieces.
In Belgium’s game against Panama, Roman Torres, the Panama captain, got on the end of corners, more often than not. Despite having the likes of Alderweireld and Vertonghen, Torres was able to get a ‘run’ at the defence and this enabled him to win the first ball. The zonal marking is predominantly based on different ‘zones’ being assigned to defenders. This goes away from the practice of marking the ‘man’, with defenders rather looking at marshaling their ‘zone’. Hence, when the attacking player gets a ‘run’ at the defence, he is in a much better position to win the ball.
Belgium won’t change their marking approach in the middle of the tournament. Therefore, it is important for them to communicate more and patrol their zones more vigilantly. A possible solution could be keeping spare men to track the runs of the opposition’s best 'headers' of the ball. This would ensure that they do not get a free ‘run’ at the defence.
When the tournament reaches its climax, a scrappy goal conceded from a corner would have the potential to derail Belgium’s charge. Thus, it is imperative that they take care of this problem before it hurts them.