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Belgium
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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Silvio Proto (Anderlecht), Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem)

Defenders: Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Nacer Chadli (Tottenham), Steven Defour (Porto), Moussa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Axel Witsel (Zenit),

Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Divock Origi (Lille)

Belgium
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

Belgium go into the FIFA World Cup having shaken off the tag of rank outsiders – with Marc Wilmots' men tipped by many to make a significant impact in Brazil.

While Belgium have made it to the knockout rounds on three of their last four appearances at the global showpiece, they have not featured at the last two finals.

Indeed, former Standard Liege and Schalke midfielder Wilmots featured in Belgium's most-recent World Cup outing, which saw them suffer a last-16 defeat to Brazil in 2002.

Taking nothing away from that side, which featured the likes of Bart Goor, Nico Van Kerckhoven and Wesley Sonck, the class of 2014 would appear to boast far greater potential.

Indeed, Belgium will be hoping to not only negotiate a route out of their group, but also threaten the latter stages of the competition, a feat they have managed on just one previous occasion when claiming fourth place in 1986.

Even without the injured Christian Benteke, Wilmots has a wealth of talent at his disposal.

Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Adnan Januzaj are among the country's most potent attacking threats.

Two-time Premier League champion Vincent Kompany, meanwhile, can be expected to help keep things solid in defence, while the likes of Axel Witsel and Steven Defour will look to dominate midfield.

Fresh from the experience of title battles in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, Atletico Madrid's Thibaut Courtois will see the World Cup as a major opportunity to cement his burgeoning reputation as one of Europe's finest goalkeepers.

Wilmots' task will be to ensure Belgium's undoubted potential is realised in Brazil.

They will be expected by many, at home and abroad, to progress through a favourable group that includes Russia, Algeria and South Korea, and Wilmots faces significant pressure as Belgium's new-found golden generation seek to do justice to their ability.

Belgium coasted through a tricky qualification group that featured opponents such as Croatia and Serbia, dropping just four points in the process.

While that should give Wilmots confidence in his methods, Benteke's absence – due to an Achilles injury – and Januzaj's recent commitment to his nation of birth may have given the coach a couple of things to ponder on the flight to Brazil.

Reports suggested certain players in the Belgian camp were unhappy at the possibility of Januzaj making the squad after he did not play a part in their qualifying campaign.

However, Wilmots went on to name the 19-year-old in his 23-man party.

Captain Kompany insists he and his team-mates are right behind Wilmots' decision and the inclusion of the Manchester United winger.

"Everyone is, first of all, happy to be in the selection," Kompany said shortly after the squad was announced.

"Ultimately it is the manager's job to make a decision and I think we are all quite happy to just leave it to the manager and trust him for the decisions he makes.

"We have great players in the team so hopefully for the World Cup we will have a great performance as well."


Player Profile (Vincent Kompany)Edit

Position: Defender
Date of Birth: April 10, 1986
Club: Manchester City
International Debut: v France (February 18, 2004)
World Cup Appearances: 0
World Cup Goals: 0
Vincent Kompany's ability to cope with high expectations at club level should stand him in good stead when he leads Belgium out at the FIFA World Cup.

The 28-year-old captains both Manchester City and his national team, and will be called upon to set the standard as a resurgent Belgium seek to impress on the global stage.

Kompany is certainly no stranger to pressure, having been handed the captain's armband at the Etihad Stadium at a time when City were snapping up some of the world's best talent in a bid to bring silverware to the blue half of Manchester.

After being signed from Hamburg by Mark Hughes, Kompany has gone on to lift two Premier League trophies - under Roberto Mancini and current City boss Manuel Pellegrini - in addition to the FA Cup and League Cup.

He will hope to use that experience to good effect in Brazil as Belgium aim to overcome a lack of recent outings at major tournaments and justify their billing as dark horses for success.

The European nation have failed to qualify for the last three UEFA European Championships and most recently played at a World Cup in 2002, falling to eventual winners Brazil in the last 16.

However, Belgium came through qualifying for this year's showpiece unbeaten, dropping points on just two occasions, and coach Marc Wilmots can call upon a host of talented players.

Kompany, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld form part of a strong defensive group, alongside vice-captain Daniel Van Buyten, while Romelu Lukaku will likely be asked to lead the line in the absence of injured forward Christian Benteke.

Wilmots appears to have a real embarrassment in riches when it comes to attacking midfielders, with Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Kevin De Bruyne and Mousa Dembele among those competing for starting berths.

While Belgium will be keen for their creative players to cause plenty of damage to the respective defences of Algeria, South Korea and Russia in Group H, Kompany will be responsible for keeping things tight at the back.

He is also set to play an important role in helping the players in front of him to express themselves, something he will have grown accustomed to at City, with Wilmots stating his preference for a 'voor verdedigen' approach, or 'defence by attack'.

Since replacing Thomas Vermaelen as national captain, Kompany has been a solid presence for a Belgium team who have demonstrated gradual improvement and head to Brazil knowing that they have a good chance of topping their group.

A classy centre-half comfortable in possession, he played through the pain barrier in the closing weeks of the 2013-14 Premier League campaign as he marshalled his club to a second title in three years.

A niggling knee problem eased ahead of City's final two games, prompting Kompany to state: "Now I feel fine. Physically I'm strong again."

Belgium will hope their captain is able to follow up domestic silverware with further success in Brazil as he looks to round off another superb season with yet more glory.


News SourcesEdit

De Standaard: http://www.standaard.be/nieuws/sport

Camer-Sport (includes Cameroon): http://www.camer-sport.be/index1.php?id=11490&act=8

Het Nieuwsblad: http://www.nieuwsblad.be/

De Morgen: http://www.demorgen.be/dm/nl/985/Sport/index.dhtml

HLN: http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/923/Sport/index.dhtml