The three keys to Belgium heading into the World Cup for the nation that their golden age is soon coming to an end is a bit tricky. The underachievers will hope for World Cup glory in Qatar, however the odds are against them with a current +1200 odd to win the World Cup.
Take a look at the keys to Belgium for the World Cup in Qatar:
Key One: The Golden Age of Belgium Coming to an End
Belgium came out with a golden age of players who’ve underachieved in the last years, failing to win a trophy. Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Yannick Carrasco, Dries Mertens and Thibaut Courtois have all been part of this golden age while playing in now three World Cups together (except for Carrasco who will play in his second).
They came in third place during the 2018 World Cup, their closest finish to first place in any tournament. The only international honor for Belgium was a gold medal win during the 1920 Summer Olympics game. This World Cup will be the last chance for this generation of Belgium players to win a trophy, however the odds are against them with players like Hazard, Lukaku, and Mertens falling in form in recent years.
Key Two: Kevin De Bruyne Will be the Player to Watch for Belgium
Kevin De Bruyne is noted as one of the best midfielders in the world. He currently has 12 assists, 57 chances created, and 136 crosses in all competitions with Manchester City. The club are sitting in second place in the Premier League, five points behind Arsenal. He was third in the Ballon D’or voting for his performance during his fight for another EPL title last season. He has participated in two World Cups already and has totaled two goals and four assists.
During the World Cup qualifiers, he had two goals and two assists. All eyes will be on the 31-year-old to lead Belgium to the promise land. His vision, creativity, and discipline are one of the best we have seen in recent times. He will be the top playmaker as the key to Belgium’s form will revolve around De Bruyne.
Key Three: The Match to Watch Out for is Belgium vs Croatia
The last game of the group stage will be crucial to decide who will be at top of Group F. Belgium have a slight edge for the favorites over Croatia, however there are expectations of the team falling in form during the group stage matches. The third place and runners-up from 2018, this match will be one of the most anticipated ones this World Cup.
Last year Belgium beat Croatia in a friendly 1-0. They would need to watch out for 2018 Ballon D’or winner Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic, as these two will be the leaders of the Croatian team. The key to Belgium for this match is not to struggle. If they do, the team will have a very hard time against Croatia that may cause them first place.