JANERIK HENRIKSSON/Associated Press
They have gone from hipster country of choice to dark horses to a team mentioned so much that they can't be called dark horses. Now, if Belgium are to achieve anything at this World Cup, they need to get the best out of Chelsea's Eden Hazard.
After breaking through with Lille OSC in Ligue 1, the 23-year-old winger has come on in leaps and bounds during his two years in the English Premier League, especially this season, with the help and guidance of Jose Mourinho.
According to WhoScored, in his debut season, Hazard scored nine times and added 11 assists. Then under Mourinho, with more responsibility on his shoulders, the Belgian scored 14 goals with seven assists. He definitely showed more maturity, as well as an ability to take over a game and impose his will when they needed it most.
WhoScored picks out dribbling, passing, finishing and key passes as his main characteristics, and you would be mad to argue with them. However, Hazard's excellent play in club football has yet to be replicated for his country.
During the 44 caps, he has only found the back of the net six times. Also, his all-round play and contributions have been nowhere near as effective as when he plays for Chelsea, or even Lille when he was younger.
Hoping to finally get the best out of his young talisman, manager Marc Wilmots has given Hazard a free license to attack, reports Owen Gibson from The Guardian.
He is one of the players who can be among the five best in the world. He has everything he needs and now it is up to him to release the handbrake and go,” he said. “He is 23 years old and playing his first tournament. We will see how he goes. He has everything he needs.
With the handbrake off, it is up to Hazard to put his foot on the gas and delight the Brazilians with an excellent performance against Algeria.