Belgian Football team
Next up in our Group H assessment is Belgium. Regarded as one of the dark horses for the tournament, Marc Wilmots’ side will be hoping to live up to their billing and qualify from what looks a relatively straightforward first three fixtures. Up first is a showdown with underdogs Algeria on Tuesday June 17 at 5pm before the Belgians square up to Russia five days later at 5pm followed by a game against South Korea on Thursday June 26 at 9pm:
Road to Qualification
The Belgians eased through qualifying, finishing nine points ahead of any other team in a group that also contained Croatia, Serbia, Scotland, Wales and Macedonia. Winning eight and drawing two of their 10 fixtures, Wilmots’ side scored 18 times (though managed more than two goals on just one occasion) and conceded four times, with six clean sheets accrued.
Most Starts Thibaut Courtois, Axel Witsel (10) Jan Vertonghen (9), Kevin de Bruyne, Toby Alderweireld (8), Thomas Vermaelen, Christian Benteke, Moussa Dembele (7), Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard (6)
Most Goals Kevin de Bruyne (4), Vincent Kompany, Kevin Mirallas, Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku (2)
Most Assists Kevin de Bruyne (4), Dries Mertens, Jan Vertonghen (2)
The Key Targets
Since qualifying for Brazil 2014, the Belgians stumbled in a couple of friendlies before recently finding their form. Back-to-back defeats against Colombia and Japan weren’t helped by a lack of domestic game time for de Bruyne before a winter move from Chelsea to Wolfsburg boosted his match sharpness. A draw with Ivory Coast in March preceded wins over Luxembourg (5-1) and Sweden (2-0) over the past week or so, with the in-form Romelu Lukaku showing he’s a more than able deputy for the stricken Christian Benteke, with four goals in those two matches, whilst de Bruyne chipped in with a goal and a couple of assists.
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