The exciting Belgians get their World Cup campaign underway on Tuesday against Algeria in Belo Horizonte, looking to underline exactly why they’ve been tipped by many to take home the trophy.
Manager Marc Wilmots has a star-studded squad at his disposal that he’s ready to unleash onto Group H, starting with minnows Algeria.
With Russia and South Korea still to come, Belgium will be desperate to kick their tournament off with a big victory and really get the confidence levels high.
Venue: Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
Date: Tuesday 17 June
Time: 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET
TV Info: ITV1/ESPN
World Cup Dark Horses Ready to Go
The Belgians will feel like they’ve had to wait an age to kick off their World Cup in Brazil, with so much excitement preceding them in Groups A to G.
However, with the form that Belgium are in and the incredible squad power that they have behind them, it looks as if it’s all going to be worth the wait.
Having such a wealth of talent on the field means that Algeria won’t be able to focus their attention on a particular Belgian danger man, as assistant coach Nourredine Kourichi explained—per FIFA.com:
“If we focus on Eden Hazard, we could have some nasty surprises. We know his qualities but also his weak points, but we can't focus especially on him, there are others, like Lukaku.”
However, Kourichi was quick to add that the Algerians aren’t going to just roll over in Belo Horizonte and explained that his side fancy their chances:
"You can't replace experience, but when you have the will, the recklessness and the talent, anything is possible. On Tuesday both teams have a chance, it's not a small team against a big team. Belgium are a good team but we have will and the ability to cope."
With nothing to lose, Algeria could indeed pose Belgium a threat on Tuesday and come into the tournament full of confidence.
According to SoccerWay, the Algerians have lost just one of their last 13 matches, winning 10 times during that run.
You have to say, though, Belgium will have more than enough about them to handle Algeria on Tuesday and come into the World Cup in a promising spell of their own.
As SoccerWay’s statistics show, Wilmots’ men have won three of their last four games and emerged through qualifying as one of very few unbeaten sides.
It’s crucial that the Belgians don’t take their Goliath status for granted and ease up against Algeria, but with Wilmots in charge showing the kind of grit in management that he did as a player, the chances of that are incredibly slim.
As both the Netherlands and Costa Rica have shown us, you just never know in a World Cup, but this is one game where the favourites won’t falter.
Prediction: Belgium 3-1 Algeria