Monday, 10 September 2012

A Sneak peak at Belgium's golden generation

I Cleared my desk, and boarded a fast train home to catch a glimpse of the Group A World Cup qualifying game between Wales and Belgium in Cardiff. The main objective was to watch the much vaunted golden generation of players that comprise the Belgian National team these days. In truth, it was a soporific game of pedestrian quality. Yes, Belgium got their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign  off to a 2-0 victory over Wales, which  is the most important thing for them ; but expectations are so high for this generation of Belgian Players, and they will be robustly scrutinized as to whether they posses the credentials to satisfy expectations of observers.

Coach Marc Wilmots played to a 4-3-3 system. There was coherence and fluidity between midfield and attack, but in the aspect of penetration and clear-cut openings, the disappointment was weighty. Kevin Mirallas, Eden Hazard,  Dries Martens were in attack ; while Axel Witsel,  Moussa Dembele and Marouane Fallaini hosted midfield. Even though they controlled the game from start to finish, It was a non event, and a tough one to make a call on how Good Belgium really are. Goals from captain Vnicent kompany and Jan Verthongen were enough to see off Wales, who were poor, and depleted due to injuries to key players.

Croatia is next up for Belgium, and it will be a bigger test. They have to dare to be the best team in Europe. It should not be just about qualifying for the World Cup. It's important to gain momentum and create the fear factor to other teams. Typically, it takes about two years of the cycle ( about 20 games ) to forge the fundamentals towards any sort of lasting dynamism. I see goal scoring as an potential problem. Mirallas and Lukaku will need to raise their game, so too that cherry in the pie, Eden Hazard. He was not potent against Wales, and perhaps the strangest thing of all is that Marc Wilmots did not play with two strikers against a team of ten men.

The golden generation are a talented bunch undoubtedly. Young and inexperienced. Let's wait and hope that this latest installment of hype and expectation in the soap opera called soccer, provides thrill seekers the adventure they desire. For now,  Spain comfortably remain kings. It's up to Belgium to provoke a contest..... it might take a while to reach the lions' den.