Are Belgium the underdogs for World Cup 2014?
The World Cup 2014 is almost here. It is the biggest footballing event on the planet and this time its taking place in the land of football, Brazil. Though the hosts being the favorites in the tournament, it still looks like the competition is going to be a fairly open one with quite a few teams having the ability to cause a few upsets.
A team which deserves a mention is Belgium. The Red Devils are surely not the favourites to lift the trophy but can still be tagged as the Underdogs of the tournament.
Chelsea's striker Romelu Lukaku who was on loan at Everton last season leads the line of attack for the Red Devils. He can hold the ball up, run behind the line of defence and also posseses the ability to run at defenders and take them on successfully. Lukaku lacks experience but can still strike fear in any defence. He is a good finisher and comes to Brazil after a very successful spell at Everton in the Premier League. Good performances in the World Cup will do him no harm. In fact, if he performs at the level he's expected to, he will manage to convince the Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho that he's ready to play at the highest level and therefore ready to play for Chelsea.
The one player who doesn't need a mention is Eden Hazard. Chelsea's main man and also the Player of the Year for Chelsea last season is clearly one of the best wingers in world at the moment. Eden Hazard can run with the ball at pace, dribble past defenders at will and has the ability to make swift turns and convert defence into attack in a split second, Hazard can score as well as provide the assists. He's a sublime player to watch when he's in the mood and very difficult to get him off the ball once he starts getting involved in the game. Belgium's team will surely be built around this 22-year-old sensation.
Kevin De Bruyne
Another Belgium player who has history with Chelsea is Kevin De Bruyne. Currently plays for the German club Wolfsburg, De Bruyne was sold by Chelsea in the January transfer window for a fairly good price. He is a creative attacking midfielder who plays behind the striker. He is one of those players who isn't very pacey, but makes up for it by his sublime passing skills and ability to score goals from a distance. The Belgium playmaker has phenomenal range of passing and possesses a lot of versatality as he can play in the center of the park, and also on the right wing if required.
The reason why Belgium could be a force this World Cup is because their team has balance. Even though they have such a pacey and promising attack with the likes of Hazard, Lukaku and Mirralas(Everton), their defence doesn't look too weak either. The focal point of their defensive line being the Belgium and Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany. Kompany won the Premier League title with Manchester City this season and was clearly one of the best center-backs this season in the league. He's a leader on the pitch and he proves that through his performances. Kompany can make the last-ditch tackle as well as come out of the defence and start attacks through his interceptions. Kompany is truly a complete defender and isn't a man the forwards will be pleased to deal with.
The core of Belgium's team comes from the English Premier League, including the Spurs left-back Jan Vertonghen. He came to the London club last season and impressed everyone with his performances. In his first season itself he was inlcuded the Team of The Year and played a vital role for Tottenham Hotspurs. This season also, Vertonghen has been a very important player, filling in at center-back many-a-times when Spurs were struggling with injuries. Jan Vertonghen possesses all the qualities of a modern defender. He can start attacks from the deep by playing long diagonal balls making him a good ball playing defender.
Thibhaut Courtois is another one of those young shining stars of Belgium. At the age of 22, Courtois looks like the most mature goalkeeper in Europe. On-loan at Athletico Madrid from Chelsea for the last three years, Courtois' spell in the La Liga has been nothing short of a success. He's been awarded the best goalkeeper of La Liga for the last two seasons and has added a lot of silverware to his account including the La Liga title which Athletico Madrid won this season on the final day after securing a draw against Barcelona. Courtois also played a very important role in the Champions League this season helping Athletico Madrid to qualify for the finals. Even he will be one of those players who'll be trying to impress Jose Mourinho and win his confidence by putting up a good show in the World Cup for his country.
Last but not the least is the teenager from the red half of Manchester, Adnan Januzaj. In a season which has been a complete disaster for Manchester United, Januzaj has been the only shining light for them. The boy has a sublime touch, an eye for a pass and instinct to score goals as well. Januzaj, in his first season itself has been a very influential player for Manchester United and is one to watch out for in the near the future. With the amount of talent in Belgium's attack, he might not be a regular starter in the World Cup but he is certainly a player who can make a difference even by coming off the bench.