Friday, October 11, 2013

Belgium to Brazil

Belgium have qualified to the 2012 World Cup in Brazil with a 1-2 away victory to Croatia on two goals by Everton's Romelu Lukaku (he is in fact on loan from Chelsea, and frankly he is far better than any striker Chelsea has). The victory against their closest rivals in the World Cup qualifying group (whcih also counts Wales, Macedonia, Scotland and Serbia) seals their superiority in a group where they were far superior to their rivals, as well as an extraordinary climb on the FIFA world rankings over the last few years, where they are now in the top-10.
Belgium's return to the World Cup is not only great for Belgian fans (or for fans of Belgian football, of whom I count myself as one), but also for football fans in general: Belgium's rise over the last few years under coach Marc Wilmots (who does not remember his extraordinary bycicle kick goalagainst Japan in the 2012 World Cup?) is the result of targeted work with young players, many of whom are now plying their trade in the Premier League. Besides Lukaku, some players worth mention are Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin de Bruyne (Chelsea), Moussa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) or Christian Benteke (Aston Villa). There are many more young talents, but these are also complemented by strong and more experienced players such as Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal) and Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich). With this Belgium has achieved a near-perfect balance before the world cup. Many may even mention them as outsider candidates, but that may be going too far for such a young team. No matter that, they can surely defeat any team, and they will be truly exciting to watch in Brazil!
And on top of it all, it gives us all an excuse to say cheers in good Belgian beer! Cheers!

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