World Cup Preview – Belgium

Belgium enter this World Cup with confidence at an all time high, as this is possibly the best pool of players Belgium have had since the 1980’s.

Belgium’s Official Squad for the World Cup;

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid, on loan from Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (Hoffenheim), Silvio Proto (Anderlecht).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele (both Tottenham), Steven Defour (Porto), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj (both Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Divock Origi (Lille), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg).

Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Everton, on loan from Chelsea), Dries Mertens (Napoli).

Manager: Marc Wilmots

With a young side looking to impress, Belgium are rightfully named as the dark horses of the tournament. Belgium will look to their key players such Kompany, Courtois, Witsel and Hazard to inspire them to victory and while this may well prove to be a step to far for this side at the moment, they will be one of the favourites to lift the Euro Championships in France in two years time. Manager Wilmots has past experience of representing his nation at the World Cup, having been a player the last time Belgium qualified in 2002 and will hope to draw on that experience as only Daniel Van Buyten has previous International Tournament experience.

Adnan Janzuaj has now pledged his future to the Belgian National team and made his debut for the country in a 5-1 friendly victory over Luxembourg, as he replaced Eden Hazard at half time. Lukaku scored a hat-trick to take his tally for Belgium to 8. It is vital that he hits top form before the start of the tournament as injury has ruled Christian Benteke out of the squad.

Dominiho7’s prediction.

I can see them reaching the semi-finals; much like unfancied Croatia did in 1998. I would love to see them win it (unless they are up against England), but would fully expect the usually power-houses to be in the final reckoning e.g. Spain, Brazil or Germany. They could face Germany as early as the last 16 but providing both teams finish top of their group they will avoid each other until the latter rounds. One thing counting against Belgium is they don’t have a victory over a top side, however there is always the first time for that to happen and the World Cup is no better place.

They have the potential to be in the final reckoning, but as far as winning the tournament – I feel it may be too early for this talented side.

 

Belgium starting XI

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England-24-Player-Pack (V1)

The talk of Januzaj for England has hints of desperation.

Two goals, that’s all it has taken. Adnan Januzaj is a world class player…… well the English media would have you think that anyway. Hodgson declared on BBC’s Match of the Day that the English National side are looking at ways of making Januzaj a English player. The thought of England naturalising a foreign talent is unthinkable?

According to certain agreements of the Home Nations, residency naturalisation is not allowed. As for Januzaj, he has been thrown into all the back pages of the newspapers after his match winning performance Sunday, and because of the clarification that England want him.

Januzaj has been on numerous occasions been called up to his country of birth national sides, only for him to decline. He can actually represent four or five different nations. Those nations are Belgium (Place of Birth), Albania (Parents nationality), Kosovo (Parents nationality), Turkey (Grandparents) and Serbia. According to reports, however, Januzaj has stated he wants to play for Albania.

The talk of naturalising Januzaj, will again lead us to the argument that young English players are not being given the chance.

Naturalisation of players is nothing new in the world game however. Cacau of Brazil, is a German international, and Deco also from Brazil, played for Portugal. Former Arsenal and current Shakhtar striker Eduardo, changed his nationality to Croatian, whilst Diego Costa is in the middle of switching allegiances with Brazil to Spain. Whilst it is highly unlikely that we will see Januzaj in an England shirt, its a question that does pop up now and again. Rememeber the talk of Arteta and Carlo Cudicini becoming naturalised Englishmen, both never happened, amid a fierce backlash from the English public.

Are we at the stage now, where we have to look at naturalising players to make sure we can compete with the World’s best?

Should the English national side readily naturalise players?

We want to hear your thoughts on the subject, so leave your comments below.

Januzaj impressed against Sunderland

Januzaj impressed against Sunderland

1st October 2013

1:00pm – Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis, has today claimed that Manchester City made a bid of £29 million for Edinson Cavani. He eventually moved to PSG

9:45am – Roberto Mancini confirmed as new Galatasaray boss

9:15am – Jose Mourinho walked out on the pre-match press conference for the Champions League tie against Steau Bucharest, following a question about a his Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. The Sun had reported that De Bruyne had been dropped to the under 21 squad, as Mourinho was unhappy with his performances for the team. De Bruyne had a successful spell at Werder Bremen last season scoring 10 League goals. He has however struggled to this season to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League.