With the 2014 FIFA World Cup starting on Thursday, Soccer Laduma take a look at the profiles of each team in Group H. We start off with Belgium.
Group H – Belgium
World Cup history
Belgium are expected to have a good tournament after their disastrous qualifying run for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The team’s disastrous run led to many changes including in the coaching staff.
The side has changed significantly from the teams of the previous years with a number of talented players from top teams around the world involved this time around.
They are called the 'New Golden Generation'. Among Belgium’s best achievements in international history was when the team qualified for six successive FIFA World Cup between 1982 and 2002.
The Red Devils finished 4th in the 1986 tournament.
2010 World Cup campaign:
Belgium performed poorly in their qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They ended fourth in their qualifying group, missing out on a ticket to South Africa.
How they qualified:
Belgium were the unbeaten UEFA Group A winners. Belgium had Croatia, Macedonia, Scotland, Serbia and Wales in their group.
They qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup as the winners of their group. Croatia, who qualified for the World Cup through the play-offs, were one of the strong teams in the group.
Eden Hazard. The Chelsea attacking midfielder is one of the players to look out for from the side. The tricky player will want to prove his worth among the world’s best players at international stage.
Romelu Lukakau of Chelsea is another influential player. The player’s performances have been impressive in the Barclays Premier League on loan at Everton last season and he has looked sharp in the pre-World Cup friendlies.
The team’s Captain Vincent Kompany and Vice-captain Thomas Vermaelen are some of the best players for Belgium going into the World Cup.
Marc Robert Wilmots will no doubt expect his side to score goals at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Wilmots was a goal scorer himself during playing days.
He is Belgium’s all-time top scorer at the FIFA World Cup with five goals. Wilmots scored 28 goals in 70 caps for Belgium.
He has been to four World Cup tournaments as a player and played in three of those. He was appointed the Belgium national team coach in 2012.
Wilmots is expected to change the fortunes of the side.
17 June - Belgium v Algeria - 18:00 - Estadio Mineirao
22 June - Belgium v Russia - 18:00 - Maracana
26 June - Korea v Belgiu - 22:00 - Arena Corinthians