Is Now the Time for Belgium?

    Is Now the Time for Belgium?
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    Following this week’s fixtures, we have just one more international break for teams to clinch their place at the 2020 European Championship finals.  There are still the Nations League playoffs for teams who fail via the standard qualifying procedure but some teams have already booked their place in next summer’s finals.

    One of those teams is Belgium, who having played eight matches in Group I sit top of the table with a 100% record.  They have won all eight of their matches, amassing a total of 24 points, which leaves them 3 points clear of second place Russia and 14 points ahead of third place Cyprus.

    Belgium must travel to Russia next, which will be their toughest test in the group but with both teams already through, this game will not have the same meaning as if qualification was on the line. The Red Devils will then finish with a home match against Cyprus and what should be a comfortable win to finish the campaign.

    The current group of Belgian players have long been lauded as the best generation ever produced by the country.  However, they are still to win either a European Championship or a World Cup.  Belgium reached the quarter-final of the 2014 World Cup, the quarter-final of the 2016 European Championship and the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup.

    This suggests they are moving in the right direction and there is no doubt they have the talent in their squad to win a big tournament but is time running out for some of the players?  A look at the defence in particular shows some players are coming to the tail end of their career at the top of the game.  At the time of writing, Toby Alderweireld is 30, Jan Vertonghen is 32 and Thomas Vermaelen is 33.  In midfield, Axel Witsel is 30 and in attack Dries Mertens is 32.

    The quality of players coming through to replace these key defenders will be hugely important for Belgium in following World Cup campaign and beyond. Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have more time of their side but without a good defence behind them, will they be able to take Belgium to glory in the World Cup or European Championship?

    The team received a warm welcome home following their 2018 World Cup semi-final appearance and third place finish but will that be good enough in the 2020 European Championship?  This is a team full of quality from back to front and now there is a real danger time is going to run out for them to take full advantage of this group of players.

    Group I was very weak and is not a true reflection of where Belgium are right now.  Both France and England are considered to be a better bet with the bookmakers to win Euro 2020 than Belgium, with Spain, Germany and Netherlands also strongly fancied.

    Unfortunately for Belgium, nations such as England and Netherlands have become a lot stronger in recent years and this may be the Red Devils last chance for success with this group of players.

    Predictions for Euro Qualifiers

    Home team - Away team Tip
    flag_93 EuQ
    GermanyN. Ireland
    19/11/2019 20:45
    1
    flag_93 EuQ
    HollandEstonia
    19/11/2019 20:45
    1
    flag_93 EuQ
    SlovakiaAzerbaijan
    19/11/2019 20:45
    1
    flag_93 EuQ
    WalesHungary
    19/11/2019 20:45
    X

    Euro Qualifiers - predictions, tips, statistics