BELGIUM: Was There Too Much Hype?

Despite all the hype heading into the World Cup, Belgium isn't all that impressive
by Kiran Balan   |   Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bycolored – column on Ottawa Fury & the Ottawa area soccer scene.

All the pre-World Cup talk about Belgium related to its highly impressive and world-class talent who could make a deep run in the 2014 World Cup. There were even some people touting them for glory in Brazil. The opening 2 games for the Red Devils have been anything but world-class, especially from a team that can boast a plethora of options as Belgium can.

Belgium is coming off a 2-1 win Algeria, and a 1-0 win over Russia, and these wins have been anything but convincing.

It is understandable for teams to have a slow start in their World Cup campaigns, but usually you can see a team’s true complexion and how well they will do as the World Cup moves forward. Yet with this Belgium team there doesn’t seem to be any bite. With names like Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku, and Eden Hazard in their starting XI, you would expect the team to easily fire on all cylinders given how easy their group is and how strong on paper the Belgian team is.

It may change through the course of the tournament, but the team has underperformed and underwhelmed so far. Belgium will for sure of get out of the group stage and top their group, anyone could’ve seen that even before the tournament began.

But this team does not look primed for success in the latter stages of the tournament.

Defensively, Jan Vertonghen and Kompany have had their fair share of defensive problems, while there have been large gaps in the midfield that other teams have been able to exploit. Belgium has been rather fortunate that their opponents build up play from the midfield have not resulted in giving up crucial goals. In the knockout stages, Belgium will not be as fortunate.

Throughout World Cup history teams have been able to shake off slow starts and really make a deep run. Despite a slow start, Belgium have without the doubt some of the most capable and experienced personnel to turn the slow start around.

With their main striker Christian Benteke struggling to fight off an injury, the goal scoring burden has fallen to Romelu Lukaku. He has definitely not found form in Brazil, despite being one of the most feared strikers in the EPL this past season. The life of a striker is not as easy as it looks, you live off the goals you score, and with a player like Lukaku when he scores, the flood gates will open. When you have players like Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne controlling the midfield, then you will definitely have chances to put the ball in the back of the net.

Belgium will finish off their group play with a game against Korea Republic and at least a draw would see them top their group, but again that would be unconvincing heading into the Round of 16, and Belgium will want to prove that they are anything but.

NEXT UP: June 26 – Belgium vs Korea Republic, Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Brazil. 2 p.m. EST, ESPN.

Kiran BALAN

Nationality:
USA
College:
Illinois State University
Club Domestic:
Chicago Fire
Club Foreign:
Chelsea
Columnist for his hometown MLS team, Chicago Fire. When he’s not flying down the left wing for ISU FC or in a pick-up game, he can be seen watching the beautiful game. A die-hard Chelsea and USMNT fan, he is keen to growing his soccer knowledge.
KIRAN'S SPONSORS