BEIJING China (Xinhua) --
After a disappointing quarterfinal defeat to
Wales at Euro 2016, Belgium’s golden generation now have
another, possibly final chance to fulfill their potential at the
2018 World Cup.
With talents like
Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany
on their roster, the Red Devils advanced to Russia with the best
squad they have ever had and a record-breaking qualification
campaign that saw them win nine out of ten matches and score 43
However, this golden
generation has failed to reach the last eight at the last two
major tournaments (the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Euros), leading
many to question whether they can surpass the achievement of
their predecessors in the 1986 World Cup, when Belgium beat the
Soviet Union to reach the semifinals before losing to Maradona’s
In fact, there is
not much time for them to prove to the world what they can
Key players like
Vincent Kompany (32),Jan Vertonghen (31),Toby Alderweireld (29),
Mousa Dembele (31), Axel Witsel (29), will all be pushing 33 and
beyond by the time the 2022 World Cup comes around.
Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, the brightest stars in the
golden generation, will both be 31 by then.
who took over coaching duties for Belgium in the summer of 2016,
must inspire his team to click and put up a proper challenge for
Although it is his first time coaching a national team, we know
the 44-year-old Spaniard is not afraid of making a controversial
decision after he excluded Radja Nainggolan from his squad for
the World Cup.
preferred 3-4-3 shape, the crucial problem is whether De Bruyne
and Hazard can fulfill their potential together.
De Bruyne, who is
regarded as the new leader of Belgium, scored eight goals and
provided 15 assists for a record-breaking Manchester City team
this season and a brilliant World Cup would make him a strong
competitor for the Ballon d’Or.
Romelu Lukaku will
lead the line for Belgium. The 24-year-old is his country’s
all-time leading scorer with 33 goals in 66 appearances.
Belgium head into
the World Cup ranked third in the world and paired alongside
Panama, Tunisia and England in Group G.
The Red Devils should make it into the last 16 without problems.
If they can win Group G ahead of England, Brazil are likely to
be waiting for them in the quarterfinals.
World Cup Group G preview:
Tunisia aim to impress after long absence
By Sportswriter Yao Youming BEIJING
China (Xinhua) -- At the upcoming 2018
World Cup, Tunisia are chasing their second victory in the World
Cup, 40 years after they recorded their first win in the
Considering that the
African team will face England and Belgium during the group
stages, the Carthage Eagles might need a lot of luck in their
fifth World Cup campaign to make that happen.
Tunisia were lucky
enough to have avoided African powerhouses on its way to Russia.
Facing the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Libya in the
last stage of the African qualifiers, Tunisia kept an unbeaten
record and qualified for Russia 2018 after spearheading their
In the warm-ups
played recently, Tunisia defeated Iran and Costa Rica, and drew
against the European champions Portugal, showing potential of
becoming dark horses in Russia.
Nabil Maaloul was
appointed as Tunisia’s head coach in April 2017.
Under his guidance, Tunisia have qualified for their first World
Cup in 12 years.
The former midfielder has helped the team build up an acute
tactical awareness, which has increased the confidence of
Tunisian fans that their side can win at least a game in Russia.
weakness is the lack of superstar who can lead them to victory.
Maaloul announced the team’s 23-man roster after a 2-2 draw with
Turkey on June 1.
The squad, dominated by local players, doesn’t include the
influential midfielder Youssef Msakni and the Tunisian league’s
top scorer Taha Yassine Khenissi, who are both forced out by
Defender Syam Ben
Youssef is now seen as an important figure in the team, as he
will have to deal with some of the best attacking talents in the
The 1.89m-high player, who plays in Turkish league, is good at
controlling high balls, but if England or Belgium put the ball
behind Tunisia’s defense line , the Carthage Eagles will be in
victory in 12 World Cup campaigns came in 1978 when they saw off
Mexico to register the first ever win by an African team on the
biggest soccer stage.
Considering those powerful competitors in Group G, trying to
beat Panama is the most realistic goal for them.