World Cup 2018: 5 reasons why this could be Belgium's tournament
Belgium are the dark horses but this could be their golden generation's tournament of glory.
They are called Belgium's golden generation. This is a team studded with an impeccable array of talents - Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois...the list goes on.
However, as much as the tag is justified, so is the fear that this wonderful assortment of talents will again misfire at the moment of reckoning. After all, they did just that in the last World Cup in 2014 and the European Championships in 2016.
In both tournaments, the Red Devils were knocked out in the quarter-finals. Most shocking was the defeat at the hands of a resurgent Wales in the Euros. This, despite the Belgians playing some silky football in the group stages and becoming everyone's outside bet to lift the cup.
We beg to differ though and here's why.
#1 They are in formidable form
Yes, the opponent might have been Costa Rica and not Germany, but on Monday the Belgians turned on the style to teach their Central American rivals a footballing lesson. A 4-1 thrashing was more important in the context of the upcoming tournament rather than the match itself.
They looked like a team in tandem, a group of players who have played together for years. Belgium has won four of their last five matches. What is more striking is that they have only conceded one goal in this period which will make coach Roberto Martinez extremely happy. They also drew only one game of the World Cup qualifiers while winning the remaining nine.
The top Belgian players all ply their trade successfully in the top leagues of Europe. While Hazard and De Bruyne have led their club sides to EPL triumphs, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and captain Vincent Kompany, amongst others have also made England their home.
Other stars such as Yannick Carrasco only recently played in Spain before moving to China in January while Dries Mertens is based in Italy. The fact that all these superstars have come together to find cohesion at the right time is extremely good news for Belgium fans as finding chemistry in such a talented bunch can often be a tricky task.