Belgium will hope that 2022 is the year that the Golden Generation finally turns their promise into reality in Qatar.
Boasting so much quality in all areas of the field, there is absolutely no reason why the Red Devils cannot launch a genuine challenge at this year’s tournament.
However, there may be some who point to the missed opportunities in 2018 and Euro 2020, reaching the semi-finals and quarter-finals in those respective tournaments. And they are currently outside the top two in their group going into the final match.
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Latest Belgium odds to win the World Cup
|Betting Market||Bet365 Odds|
|Belgium to win the World Cup||66/1|
|Belgium to reach semi-final odds||12/1|
|Belgium to reach quarter-final odds||9/2|
|Belgium odds to win Group F||4/1|
|Dries Mertens World Cup Golden Boot odds||80/1|
*You have to be 18+ to gamble. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (12:15, 01/12/2022). BeGambleAware.
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Pre-tournament, Belgium were favourites to get through their group but they go into their final game not knowing their fate. It is still relatively simple for the Red Devils, as a win would see them through, ahead of Croatia. But it’s Croatia in their final match, and a draw would only be enough if Canada beat Morocco by four or more goals.
Should they manage to get out the group though, and potentially win it still, then Roberto Martinez’s men will be hoping they can re-find their form and go far.
Belgium route to the World Cup 2022 Final in Qatar
Group stage fixtures
|Belgium 1-0 Canada||Ahmad bin Ali Stadium||23 November, 7pm|
|Belgium 0-2 Morocco||Al Thumama Stadium||27 November, 1pm|
|Croatia vs Belgium||Ahmad bin Ali Stadium||1 December, 3pm|
*All times GMT
As mentioned, Belgium go into their final game knowing only a win over Croatia would see them into the last 16 having picked up three points from their opening two matches – with two very poor performances.
Who could Belgium meet in the knockout rounds?
Whatever the tournament, victory is not handed to you on a plate. You must earn the right to lift the trophy.
That is certainly the case here if Belgium do manage to top Group F. Belgium may fancy their chances against a German team that has also been poor at the World Cup and aren’t guaranteed of a last 16 spot, though Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal would provide stubborn resistance at the very least.
Should they come through that, Kylian Mbappe and France could be awaiting them, while they did beat potential final opponents Brazil 2-1 in the last eight in Russia.
|If Belgium win Group F||Potential opponent|
|Round of 16||Germany|
Finishing second in Group F is the likely result for Belgium and brings bigger tests sooner than Belgium would want. Indeed, a potential quarter-final meeting with Brazil could be on the cards.
If everything goes to plan, the Red Devils would then need to overcome the teams that eliminated them from the last two tournaments in France (2018 semi-finals) and Argentina (2014 quarter-finals).
|If Belgium come runners up in Group F||Potential opponent|
|Round of 16||Spain|
Confirmed Belgium World Cup 2022 squad
|Thibaut Courtois||Goalkeeper||30||Real Madrid|
|Simon Mignolet||Goalkeeper||34||Club Brugge|
|Thomas Meunier||Defender||31||Borussia Dortmund|
|Wout Faes||Defender||24||Leicester City|
|Timothy Castagne||Defender||26||Leicester City|
|Axel Witsel||Midfielder||33||Atletico Madrid|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Midfielder||31||Manchester City|
|Yannick Carrasco||Midfielder||29||Atletico Madrid|
|Youri Tielemans||Midfielder||25||Leicester City|
|Leander Dendoncker||Midfielder||27||Aston Villa|
|Hans Vanaken||Midfielder||30||Club Brugge|
|Charles De Ketelaere||Midfielder||21||AC Milan|
|Eden Hazard||Forward||31||Real Madrid|
|Thorgan Hazard||Forward||29||Borussia Dortmund|
Belgium players to watch at this year’s World Cup 2022
Belgium top World Cup Golden Boot contender – Dries Mertens
With Romelu Lukaku managing just nine minutes at the World Cup so far, having seriously struggled with injury issues, the Inter Milan man is unlikely to make the push for the Golden Boot many expected. Dries Mertens is the favourite among the Belgium squad despite being yet to score at the World Cup – Michy Batshuayi has netted the Red Devils’ only goal so far.
Mertens has also managed just 29 minutes at the World Cup, but with Belgium seriously struggling in attack that may change.
Belgium player to watch – Kevin De Bruyne
Arguably the best central midfielder in world football, many hoped that De Bruyne would be the glue and heartbeat that keeps things ticking for his nation. However, the Man City man hasn’t had the best of tournaments and was at the heart of a reported dressing room falling out after he admitted that Belgium’s team was “too old” to win the World Cup, which didn’t go down well with some of his teammates.
According to reports, Jan Vertonghen was among those who took exception to what De Bruyne had said, with Dries Mertens’ wife Kat Kerkhofs telling a podcast that the squad had a barbecue which was “awkward” after the falling out. Although she later added that she “thought it was strange to read that there are tensions within the group.”
Belgium captain Eden Hazard has confirmed that the Belgium squad did have a long talk about their situation, but it was only Roberto Martinez who spoke in the dressing room, squashing any rumours of a falling out.
“We had a good talk among the players,” he said. “A lot has been said. We talked for an hour about good things and less good things. Now we want to win against Croatia. We now have two days to prepare. We have to be ready.
“Nothing happened in the dressing room. Only the coach (Martinez) spoke. I spoke to Kevin De Bruyne, he does believe in the group.”
Thibaut Courtois also squashed the rumours but went further to look into where they might have come from, and hinted at a potential exile for whoever did leak them.
“The problem is that too many lies are spread. A situation is described that doesn’t exist,” Courtois said.
“As a group, we need to avoid that negativity. Everything was clarified yesterday. Everyone has openly expressed their opinion. Now we have to take action on the field. It’s good that we had a group conversation. We said what we thought to each other. We have to be honest with each other and fight for each other on the pitch.
“If we find out who sent this [information to the press], it will be his last day at the national team.”
Belgium emerging player to look out for – Charles De Ketelaere
Making his debut in the defeat to Morocco, De Ketelaere will look to embrace the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage of all.
The 21-year-old has already won three league titles with Club Brugge and, in the summer, made the move to Italian champions AC Milan where he has so far featured more as a substitute than a starter. But he will be a good option off the bench if Belgium progress and will no doubt learn from the experience even if he doesn’t get meaningful minutes.
Belgium tactical analysis & likely formation at the World Cup
Belgium boast plenty of quality in depth that they hope will stand them in good stead to challenge in Qatar.
Roberto Martinez prefers a 3-4-3 formation, packing the defence while the full-backs provide additional support to the attacking trio.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois holds the fort between the sticks, with the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen anchoring the defence.
The usually magnificent Kevin De Bruyne has been playing further up the pitch as part of the front three alongside Michy Batshuayi and Eden Hazard, with support from Thomas Meunier, Thorgan Hazard or Yannick Carrasco on the wings.
Where are Belgium in the FIFA world rankings?
Belgium are second in the FIFA world rankings, with only Brazil ahead of the Red Devils.
Who is the Belgium manager?
Roberto Martinez leads Belgium into the finals for a second time, and is aiming to guide them the extra couple of steps after their run to the semi-finals in 2018.
Who is the current Belgium captain?
Eden Hazard continues to don the armband for the Red Devils. The Real Madrid forward has struggled to produce his brilliant best for Los Blancos, but will be eager to rise to the occasion in Qatar.
How many times have Belgium won the World Cup?
Belgium are yet to win the World Cup, but will hope the waiting is almost over. The Red Devils recorded their best-ever performance in Russia four years ago, finishing third following a narrow defeat by eventual champions France in the semi-finals.
How many times have Belgium competed in the World Cup?
This will be Belgium’s 14th appearance at the World Cup finals – and third in succession. No European team has qualified for as many World Cup tournaments as Belgium without ever winning it.
Who has scored Belgium’s most goals in World Cup tournaments?
Marc Wilmots and Romelu Lukaku have each scored five goals at the finals, although you would expect the latter to surpass that tally in Qatar should Belgium advance.
Which player from Belgium has the most World Cup appearances?
An instrumental figure in the side that reached the 1986 semi-finals, playmaker Enzo Scifo represented Belgium at four World Cups, racking up 17 appearances along the way.