Belgium – the No. 2 ranked side in the World – will enter the FIFA World Cup 2022 with high hopes, grouped alongside Croatia, Morocco and Canada.
However, it will look to forget its result in the last warm-up game, where Egypt stunned the 2018 World Cup bronze-medal winner with a 2-1 win.
Roberto Martinez’s side still has the core of its golden generation (of 2018) intact and will look to capitalise on the strength of veterans in every position on the field.
Belgium – with Manchester City midifielder Kevin De Bruyne in the middle of the park – will have a perfect pivot in a 4-3-3 formation at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Red Devils have been sharp in transitions , something that saw it pip Japan in the round of 16 match last year.
De Bruyne has struggled with positioning deep in defence against Egypt and will look to patch the errors before his side begins its World Cup campaign against Canada on November 24.
He will have the support of Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans.
The 25-year-old guided the Foxes to its first-ever FA Cup title with a brilliant goal against Chelsea in Wembley last year and will be expected to delivers through balls for Thorgan Hazard and Yannick Carrasco along elither flank.
In goal, Thibaut Courtois will be its key weapon to deny chances for the opposition. When Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the Champions Legaue final this year, the 30-year-old was instrumental, making some key saves in Paris.
Belgium has had the services of another Manchester City veteran (other than De Bruyne) in the form of Vincent Kompany. The centre-back – having spent over 14 years in National team colours – led his team to the semifinals four years ago.
However, the 36-year-old will be absent, having retired in 2020 and there will be some holes to plug for Martinez’s side in thai department.
It can take some solace from the presence of the other defenders from 2018 – Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – at the back.
Former Tottenham Hotsour teammates, Jan and Toby, were key in helping Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019 and Vertonghen’s Benfica beat PSG to top its group in this edition of UCL as well.
Dicey bid up front
Martinez’s side has been gifted by two fantastic strikers of this generation – Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard. Over 100 goals between them for Belgium have made them the highest goalscorers for their country.
However, form for either forward has not been as flashy as it used to be, with both struggling with injuries since the last season.
Lukaku, juggling from Inter Milan to Chelsea and back to Inter this season, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury and it is stil uncertain whether he starts.
“We have to assess the improvement to help estimate the timeline for his recovery. If he’s fit by December 1, he’ll be with us,” the coach was quoted by L’Equipe.
Hazard, on the other hand, has started just twice for Real Madrid this season and has just one goal and assist for Los Blancos.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 may well be the platform to shine for both the forwards to make their comebacks, in Qatar.