The Belgian players would be proud of themselves after entering the World Cup Finals in style as they maintained an unbeaten record and grabbed 26 points out of a possible 30, topping their group in the qualifiers. With so many players with different styles and personalities, Marc Wilmots has depth and quality in the squad to compete with the likes of Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina albeit as dark horses.
Belgium’s main force is their attacking midfielder Eden Hazard. The Chelsea youngster has been one of the best players in the world this season at club level, singlehandedly carrying Chelsea’s attacking play much to manager Jose Mourinho’s pleasure as he famously called him the best young player in the world. Eden Hazard’s trickery, pace, vision and finishing would be extremely important for Belgium if they want to set the stadium alight in Brazil.
This season has been extremely important for the young man as he was coached by one of the strictest coaches in the world. This has resulted in a more focused, mature and professional version of Eden Hazard who knows that he needs to carry his team forward. Belgium have a wealth of young and premier talent in their team but Hazard stands out with an ability to be the best in the world in the coming years, which can pile pressure on his young shoulders.
There have been many cases of pressure getting to the best of players at the world’s biggest stage. Despite having a decent tournament, Lionel Messi failed to score a single goal in the 2010 World Cup, something which speaks volume about the pressure and the big stage. Hazard has to deliver for his team as he is in such a stage of his career that can propel him to new heights of confidence as well as stardom both internationally and at club level.
Hazard’s consistency and style of play is typically different for club and country. While he has amassed 14 goals and a handful of assists in the league with Chelsea this time in the season, he has 45 appearances for the national team and has had only 6 goals to his name. The difference in Belgium’s style of football and Chelsea’s can hamper Eden Hazard’s statistics, but the main fact here is that Hazard is more of a wide play maker who would not involve himself more in scoring positions as much as he would get the creativity of the team to the new heights. Belgium have had 10 different scorers in their qualifying campaign and that itself highlights the strength in the squad that Hazard plays for. Hazard may be the one who would be the heartbeat of the team, but he requires his teammates to help him carry his game-plan. So from a work horse yet creator, Hazard will still use a bit of Chelsea as well as typically winger centric experiences with his national team to drive Belgium’s campaign.
Eden Hazard will be viewed by millions of people all over the world on the biggest stage of professional football and a strong performance is something which he can use for personal edge over similar aged rivals Neymar and Gareth Bale as well as propel Belgium farther than what most people think they would go. The above comments on Hazard aren’t to be perceived in such a way that one starts thinking about Belgium being a one man show, which is entirely false. But the whole article’s main point everywhere is to state that Eden Hazard is the pulse of the team and generally when he plays well, which means the best player of the team is playing well, his team-mates also step up their game.
The matches of the dark horses of Europe led by Vincent Kompany and Marc Wilmots would be one of the most waited ones in the tournament, as World Cup 2014 promises to be a cracker.