Belgium – World Cup 2014 – Betting
Manager: Mark Wilmots
Captain: Vincent Kompany
FIFA World Ranking: 11
World Cup Appearances: 12
Best World Cup: Fourth Place 1986
Belgium Team Profile
After two editions missed in 2006 and 2010, Belgium are back on the biggest stage and they are one of the best dark horse shots in the competition. The Belgians have flourished over the past couple of years in their development, with familiar names plying their trade in the English Premier League. This has all come about because of a fantastic youth development system in the country and now they are reaping some big benefits under the guidance of Marc Wilmots, who is still in his relative infancy as the national boss.
They qualified directly for the World Cup, with an impressive run during qualification, not suffering a defeat in their ten matches and finishing nine points clear of second placed Croatia. It was a fantastic return from them and confirmation that they may be ready to impress at the World Cup. Now the big test for them begins, and they are running as favourites to top their group over Russia, South Korea and Algeria.
They have an abundance of quality through their squad, from captain Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen at the back, and superb qualities going forward from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, Christian Benteke and of course, Eden Hazard. So they are likley to produce goals, but Belgium’s game just isn’t about attack. They keep the ball well, stroke it around and look defensively sound as well. There is a real expectation that they could make waves through the knockout stages.
The former Belgian international has been in the national set up for quite a while, but it was only back in 2012 that he was handed the job as head coach, after having spent three years as assistant in the set up. He actually stepped out of a career in politics to get into football management and he looks to be enjoying his decision now. He has been credited with instilling discipline into the Belgian squad, giving football in the country a whole new level of confidence and being tactically sound with his decision. At the close of 2013, Wilmots had taken charge of just ten competitive matches for Belgium, winning eight and drawing two (during World Cup 2014 qualification). If he can keep that momentum going, they are going to be a real handful at Brazil 2014.
Belgium Key Players
Tough to narrow down the key players in the Belgium squad to just a few. Starting at the back, they have a top quality keepers in Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet. That is going to serve them very well at the World Cup. Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany is an important piece of the puzzle for the Belgium side, as he is influential in making key decisions on the pitch from the back. He is one who is always going to put his heart, soul and body on the line for his country.
Chelsea star Eden Hazard, who seems to have flourished under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge is a big match winner for them. His ability to beat players at pace puts right up there as one of the best players in the world. He also has a termendous eye for goal and will make very valuable contritbutions to the side. His work rate has improved over the past 18 months or so, making him an even bigger asset.
Belgium have big options to call upon up front and Kevin Mirallas is perhaps the unsung hero of it all. The Everton player is the most experienced player in their front line corps and has a great deal of vision in playing a support role to the likes of Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku.
One of their biggest strengths is going to be simply how fearless and bold they appear to be. It is a great asset, because while they are a young side, a young and talented side at that, they aren’t going to be daunted by anyone who they come up against. Their attacking options really are their biggest asset if you wanted to focus on just the one thing. They have a match winner in Eden Hazard, who will be so important from them, not only in creating chances by in taking them as well. He really could be one of the big stars of the entire World Cup 2014 show. They also have great depth to call upon as well.
Truthfully, Belgium really don’t have a lot of weakness in their set up. If you wanted to pick hairs over something then it is going to be their lack of experience. Big things have been brewing for some time in the Belgian set up, but they are still relatively untested against high quality opposition after missing Euro 2012. Their mental resolve in being able to handle pressure in those big World Cup pressure situations could be a bit of an unknown for them.
Belgium Qualification for the World Cup
Goals Scored: 18
Goals Conceded: 4
World Cup Potential: 3/5
A fantastic dark horse shot. How they will cope in going up against big guns though in the latter stages of the competition. That is why there is still some hesitation over them. Bookmakers consistently trimmed odds on them in the ante post market though, so there is a lot of potential in the side. A quarter final appearance would be a fantastic result for them, but they could just surprise and reach the final four. But again, with all of the talent that they have in their side, they haven’t had experience in major tournaments in recent times to gain that all important factor of how to win dirty, smart or savvy in competition football.
Belgium World Cup Betting Odds
Belgium to win the World Cup: 14/1 Paddy Power
Before the World Cup the odds on Argentina were 16/1
Belgium World Cup 2014 Fixtures – Group H
|Tu 17th June||17.00||Belgium v Algeria||2:1|
|Tu 17th June||23.00||Russia v South Korea||1:1|
|Su 22nd June||17.00||Belgium v Russia||1:0|
|Su 22nd June||20.00||South Korea v Algeria||2:4|
|Th 26th June||21.00||South Korea v Belgium||0:1|
|Th 26th June||21.00||Algeria v Russia||1:1|
World Cup 2014 Group H Table