Belgium - Team Profile

This will be Belgium’s 12th appearance in the finals, their only success of note coming in 1986

The Belgium squad during a training session at the squad’s camp ahead of the World Cup in Stockholm. Photograph: Ints Kalnins / Reuters

The Belgium squad during a training session at the squad’s camp ahead of the World Cup in Stockholm. Photograph: Ints Kalnins / Reuters

 

Manager: Marc Wilmots

Best finish: Fourth (1986)

World Cup record: Played 41, Won 14, Drawn 9, Lost 18

History

This will be Belgium’s 12th appearance in the World Cup finals, their only success of note coming in 1986, among their stars Jean-Marie Pfaff, Eric Gerets, Franky Van Der Elst, Enzo Scifo and Jan Ceulemans, when they beat the Soviet Union and Spain to reach the semi-finals, where they lost 2-0 to eventual champions Argentina. They failed to qualify for the 2006 and 2010 finals.

Whiteboard

English Premier League watchers will be familiar with the bulk of their side, not least the usual front five of Marouane Fellaini and Mousa Dembele, behind widemen Kevin Mirallas and Eden Hazard and frontman Romelu Lukaku. At the back, there’s captain Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) and Jan Vertonghen (Spurs), goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, the list goes on. Useful.

All Star - Eden Hazard

Named PFA Young Player of the Year across the water, although it ended sourly when José Mourinho blamed his ‘defending’ for Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid. Still, he’s a gifted gem.

County Colours – Clare

20 years in the wilderness, then boom: a crop of gifted youngsters arrive and the world’s their lobster.

Pundit’s Corner – Ruud Gullit: “They’re also the dark horses but do any of them play for Meelan? No? I didn’t think so.”

Prospects

Eight wins and two draws from their 10 games saw them cruise to qualification, nine clear of Croatia. They’ve a bit of everything in all departments, especially attack, but the squad lacks experience at this level. Still, they’re fifth in the betting and look likely to have too much for Group H opponents Russia, Algeria and South Korea.

FINAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: 1 Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea/Eng on loan to Atletico Madrid/Esp), 12 Simon Mignolet (Liverpool/Eng), 13 Sammy Bossut (Zulte-Waregem).

Defenders: 2 Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid/Esp), 3 Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal/Eng), 4 Vincent Kompany (Manchester City/Eng), 5 Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur/Eng), 15 Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich/Ger), 18 Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit Saint Petersburg/Rus), 21 Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), 23 Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege).

Midfielders: 6 Axel Witsel (Zenit Saint Petersburg/Rus),7 Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg/Ger), 8 Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United/Eng), 14 Dries Mertens (Napoli/Ita), 16 Steven Defour (Porto/Por), 19 Moussa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur/Eng), 22 Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur/Eng),

Forwards: 9 Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea/Eng), 10 Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Eng), 11 Kevin Mirallas (Everton/Eng), 17 Divock Origi (Lille/Fra), 20 Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United/Eng).

TEAM LINE-UPS

BELGIUM (v Algeria): 1 Thibaut Courtois; 2 Toby Alderweireld, 15 Daniel Van Buyten, 4 Vincent Kompany, 5 Jan Vertonghen (yc); 7 Kevin De Bruyne, 6 Axel Witsel, 19 Moussa Dembele (8 Marouane Fellaini, 65 mins); 22 Nacer Chadli (14 Dries Mertens, half-time), 9 Romelu Lukaku (17 Divock Origi, 58 mins), 10 Eden Hazard.

BELGIUM (v Russia): 1 Thibaut Courtois; 2 Toby Alderweireld (yc), 15 Daniel Van Buyten, 4 Vincent Kompany, 3 Thomas Vermaelen (5 Jan Vertonghen, 31 mins); 6 Axel Witsel (yc), 8 Marouane Fellaini; 14 Dries Mertens (11 Kevin Mirallas, 75 mins), 7 Kevin De Bruyne, 10 Eden Hazard; 9 Romelu Lukaku (17 Divock Origi, 57 mins).

BELGIUM (v South Korea): 1 Thibaut Courtois; 21 Anthony Vanden Borre, 15 Daniel Van Buyten, 18 Nicolas Lombaerts, 5 Jan Vertonghen; 16 Steven Defour (rc), 8 Marouane Fellaini, 19 Moussa Dembele (yc); 14 Dries Mertens (17 Divock Origi, 60 mins), 11 Kevin Mirallas (10 Eden Hazard, 88 mins), 20 Adnan Januzaj (22 Nacer Chadli, 60 mins).

BELGIUM (v USA): 1 Thibaut Courtois; 2 Toby Alderweireld, 15 Daniel Van Buyten, 4 Vincent Kompany (yc), 5 Jan Vertonghen; 6 Axel Witsel, 7 Kevin De Bruyne, 8 Marouane Fellaini; 14 Dries Mertens (11 Kevin Mirallas, 60 mins), 17 Divock Origi (9 Romelu Lukaku, 90), 10 Eden Hazard (22 Nacer Chadli, 111 mins).

BELGIUM (v Argentina): 1 Thibaut Courtois; 2 Toby Alderweireld (yc), 15 Daniel Van Buyten, 4 Vincent Kompany, 5 Jan Vertonghen; 6 Axel Witsel; 11 Kevin Mirallas (14 Dries Mertens, 60 mins), 8 Marouane Fellaini, 7 Kevin De Bruyne, 10 Eden Hazard (yc) (22 Nacer Chadli,  75 mins); 17 Divock Origi (9 Romelu Lukaku, 59 mins).

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