3 Belgian Players with a Point to Prove vs. Algeria
When Belgium kick off their World Cup against Algeria on Tuesday, manager Marc Wilmots will finally get the chance to see his players perform on football's biggest stage.
Of course, the "Rode Duivels" have a talented squad, and they performed well during the qualifying campaign. But how will Belgium's players react when the pressure is on and the world is watching?
In Brazil, the highly rated Belgians will finally have to prove they can live up to their potential—as individuals and as a team.
Here, we take a look at the three players with the biggest point to prove.
Wilmots will look at Eden Hazard, perhaps the most talented Belgian player, to provide creativity and goals up front. After what was arguably his breakthrough season for Chelsea, the winger and attacking midfielder will now have to perform for his country.
That means he will have to step up his game from Belgium's recent preparatory friendlies. Although Hazard scored a goal against Sweden, he didn't exert as much influence as was hoped he would.
Wilmots even went so far as to state he would be willing to replace Hazard if he played badly, as per Fifa.com.
Against Algeria, Hazard will have to take charge and prove to his boss that he can do what's expected of him and that his good season at Chelsea was not just a coincidence.
He needs to show the world that he has truly arrived.
When Christian Benteke suffered a serious injury in April, Romelu Lukaku knew that he would have to step up and replace the Aston Villa striker.
As such, Lukaku will be looked at to score goals and provide link-up opportunities for left-winger Eden Hazard and attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.
During Belgium's preparatory friendlies, Lukaku bagged a hat-trick against Luxembourg and scored another goal against Sweden.
But can he do it when the pressure is on? Against Algeria, Lukaku will have to make the Belgian fans forget all about Benteke's injury.
Last year, Marouane Fellaini made the transfer he had always dreamed of. By joining his former Everton boss David Moyes at Manchester United, he finally got to play for one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.
But what a disaster it became. Manchester United had a horror season, and Fellaini became a laughing stock. Just as things seemed like they couldn't get any worse, Moyes—who was ultimately the one who wanted Fellaini at Old Trafford—was fired.
Next year, Fellaini will have to do everything he can to convince new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal that he deserves to stay.
But that might only be possible after a successful World Cup campaign. In Brazil, then, Fellaini will have to prove to his new boss that he deserves a second chance.