For our Belgium: Euro 2016 team preview, we’ve compiled the team’s schedule, squad, players to keep an eye out for as well as our prediction on how far they’ll advance in the tournament.
Belgium: Euro 2016 team preview
Manager: Marc Wilmots
Captain: Eden Hazard
Monday, June 13
Saturday, June 18
Wednesday, June 22
Belgium: Euro 2016 team preview: Squad:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Jean-Francois Gillet (Mechelen).
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham, Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jason Denayer (Galatasaray), Jordan Lukaku (Oostende), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugges), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Christian Kabasele (Genk).
Midfielders: Moussa Dembele (Tottenham), Radja Nainggolan (Roma), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid).
Forwards: Mitchy Batshuayi (Marseille), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Christian Benteke (Liverpool), Divock Origi (Liverpool).
Belgium: Euro 2016 team preview: Overview:
A quarter-final elimination to Argentina at the 2014 World Cup was about par for Belgium in the eyes of many, as the nations golden crop of talent battled their way to the last eight. However, Wilmots’ men underwhelmed in their performances.
For all the attacking talent on display, Belgium lacked an incisive presence in the final third of the field and creativity in the middle of the park. That’s a balance the manager has been seeking to strike since and having scaled the summit of the FIFA world rankings during the qualification process, it’d be tough to say they haven’t.
Yet as odd as it may be to say, despite this ascension and the embarrassment of riches available to Wilmots in terms of individual quality, there are still signs this is a side not reaching its potential. The Red Devils still haven’t quite found a way of bringing the best out of Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku in the same setup.
The latter’s form has suffered badly in the second half of the season too, while his deputies, Christian Benteke and Divock Origi, are struggling with rhythm and fitness, respectively. Perhaps most crucially, Belgium will also be without captain Vincent Kompany, while Thibaut Courtois and Hazard are both coming into the Euros on the back of poor seasons with Chelsea.