How Belgium should line up at World Cup 2018

Belgium is the latest country to witness a golden generation of players. Their current contingency of stars have the right amount of maturity, experience and skill to finally shine at a major international competition.

Prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Red Devils went through a barren spell in the international scene.

Their last notable appearance was at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Then managed by national legend Marc Wilmots, the side were unlucky in 2014 to go out to Argentina four years earlier. Gonzalo Higuain scored the only goal of the match to send the European dark horses out of the competition at the quarter-final stage.

However, before the exit, the players showed great promise. Producing a stellar performance against the United States in the round of 16, an incredible showing of super-heroic proportions from Tim Howard kept the score down to just 2-0. The performance from the Belgians provided a glimmer of what they could possibly achieve.

In Euro 2016, the team suffered a shock 3-1 defeat to tournament surprise package Wales following a thumping 4-0 victory over Hungary in the previous round.

Once again, there was much promise. Not the experience or mentality required to carry the nation into the final stages of a major competition.

The appointment of Roberto Martinez as manager and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry as assistant coach has caused people to believe that this side can progress further this time around.

Notable players such as Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois have all gained more maturity and experience. They have continuously performed at the highest level for their respective clubs.

A combination of all these factors might just be the right recipe for success. Martinez faced an impossible task choosing his final roster. For now, we can take a deeper dive on how they will line up, for more or less the majority of the tournament.

The front three

Assuming that the former Everton boss is looking to deploy a 5-2-3 shape during the World Cup as he did during the qualifiers, there is only one striker position up for grabs.

This spot is most likely going to be handed to Manchester United’s Lukaku. Other contenders include Michy Batshuayi, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke.

Out of these three, Batshuayi has been the best performer especially after the 24-year-old’s loan spell at Dortmund.

Although an injury suffered a few weeks ago might keep the striker out of contention for a few more weeks, recent news has suggested that he might return to training in as little as 10 days. This could put him right up there in contention for the main striker’s role.

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