World Cup 2018 Day 10 - Can Belgium Win It All?

Weekly English Premier League Opinion - World Cup Edition Day 10

Belgium vs. Tunisia

Belgium look slick.

Everyone is aware of the talent that Belgium have. And everyone is aware of their continuous routine of failing to live up to high expectations. This is probably the best time for this current group of Belgians’, they are in their prime. And the opening 15minutes of this game showed it.

A quick fire 2-0 lead was correct. The attacking intent obvious and the threat almost at will. This should be an easy win.

Tunisia did what they seem to do; start very badly. They did against England, they should have been three down in that game but for some poor England finishing, (read previous posting). And then despite the early adversity Tunisia grew stronger and grew into a genuine team of some ability able to compete. Why always too late for Tunisia?

The Belgium team set up is a curious adventure. Those familiar with Belgium will understand that some odd coaching decisions have hampered their tournament success in the past. Most times their failure was self-induced. Out with the old and in with the same. Those familiar with Roberto Martínez will understand some odd coaching decisions that have hampered his success in the past.

Tactically I’m not convinced by Belgium. From a talent perspective they can carry themselves to tournament finals, it hasn’t happened yet, but most would argue that it should. It’s tactically where their biggest problems are evident. The three-man defensive group is unnecessary. How many central defenders is enough? The dynamic of the team is attacking, let’s load up in those departments. The front three are mobile and effective, but most of all they play for each other which I think is a massive trait that maybe some other teams just do not have.

But the strange nuance of the tactics is the deployment of Kevin De Bruyne. Martínez at his best, totally wasted and under untilized. With the 3-4-3 system of play you would think that maybe Kevin De Bruyne could influence the game higher up the field, late arriving in an attacking midfield role. Nope, not Martínez. Out of the two central midfield players Witsel is asked to go forward and provide the attacking intent while Kevin De Bruyne stays home, collects the ball from the central defenders who should be bringing it out themselves anyway, and destroying in the DCM #6 role. 50 yards from goal.

At halftime I’ve enjoyed a real entertaining game of football. And equally I feel cheated that Kevin De Bruyne isn’t allowed to play.

The argument so evident at the conclusion of the first half. Tunisia high in the attack and then concede a turnover of possession for Belgium to counter. Hazard was dynamic on the transition and Kevin De Bruyne was ahead of the ball, the only occasion in the half that I can reference with clarity. The counter attack was direct and quick, it was almost a goal, it should have been a goal. But it was about the value of Kevin De Bruyne. Anyone can play defensive center midfield, not everyone is Kevin De Bruyne.

The runaway win was comprehensive and places Belgium in high regard, they are genuine contenders at this World Cup tournament. And they will face better opposition than Tunisia if they are going to challenge for the championship game. It could be so much easier if they use Kevin De Bruyne.

By Jonny Carter - Chicago Fire

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