It’s one of the extreme accomplishments in the world of sport, just how on earth did one of the smaller nations gather the top-ranked squad in the most popular game on the globe? Belgium, a nation of nearly 11 million people, packed between France and Germany in Western Europe and shadowed by the landmass and population size of those neighbors, first made it to the top of the FIFA World Cup rankings in 2015 and has endured determinedly on the position ever since 2018.
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In the next 18 months, Belgium is hoping for a major trophy to validate their dominance on the world stage, but even without a title run at the European Championship or the 2022 World Cup, their team of international superstars must still be the envy of football administrators everywhere. And the Belgium Football World Cup team isn’t planning on going anywhere. The ride began from the mine of misery.
Belgium’s happiness of co-hosting the 2000 European Championship ended in disgrace as they were pushed out in the group phase of the tournament. Just nine days after thousands of white balloons had been unconfined in festivity to kick off the competition at the King Baudouin Football World Cup Stadium, the fizz had been insistently burst inside the same stadium. For more to know about Qatar World Cup Tickets Click here.
A sun-dappled evening in Brussels ended in the sadness of a 2-0 defeat by Turkey, two goals from Hakan Sukur the first of which will have given goalkeeper Filip de Wilde nightmares, bound senior figures in the Belgian Football Association to manner a root and branch evaluation of their entire football tactic. Michel Sablon was the Football World Cup side’s technical leader at the time. He said the body as contest hosts was a big achievement, yet the performance on the field was anything but. It was not good for the players, not good for the clubs, not good for the World Cup team, he told the media.
A turning point for the Belgium Football World Cup team
As it happens, Euro 2000 marked a turning point for two of the sides in the act. Germany’s so tragic group-stage exit, introducing a rare loss to England, encouraged a thorough appraisal of their football attitude. It was a return that would produce a FIFA World Cup win 14 years later and Belgium was about to get on something similar. Sablon didn’t excess much time; nothing was left to chance. Sablon explained how they hired four universities to help study the workload of youth players in either five-a-side or eight-a-side games.
No aspect was too small, for example, was nine o’clock on a Sunday morning the best time for the children to play? They examined data from 1,500 youth sports, enlisted the assistance of 70 trainers at all levels of the game, and made 120 appearances to the clubs that took almost a year. The old-style, but inflexible, 4-4-2 World Cup formation was rejected in favor of a more elastic and aggressive 4-3-3 line-up, which required different players to take more charge with the ball.
It was a motivating strategy, but the unsure size of the Belgium Football World Cup program might have been a help, rather than an interference. With hardly two dozen expert clubs in the state, it was relaxed to get everyone singing from the same song sheet, and as a nation without a past of major successes, there was possibly more freedom to try and less pressure for an immediate return on investment. Every club in the country bought into it.
I remember that the first game we did it with was the Under-17 side against France. We lost 7-1 and then the response came, of course. But a year later, in the same age class, we conquered France and beat them.
It took time, he evoked, but in reflection, the only difficult thing was deciding to board on the trip in the first place.
Best players for Belgium
Around this time, talented young players like Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, and Kevin de Bruyne were just eight, 10, and 10 years old correspondingly. Nobody could have perhaps known it then, but they and many other players of their age group would soon be tossed on a career route that would change the world game. Romelu Lukaku is one of the most controlling FIFA World Cup forwards on the earth.
Lukaku has never been short on sureness, or the hunger and wishes to get ahead. It says a lot about his self-belief that he knew, as a 16-year-old, that he was good sufficient to play in the Belgium Football World Cup team. It might also say something about that time. I knew I had the complete package, he told the media, I thought to myself that I was different than all the other players they had upfront.
Lukaku made his FIFA World Cup team debut when he was 17 and is now his country’s record goalscorer. Back then, he was also playing with and against the future stars of the World Cup team, We knew that at one point, we would take over. The Belgium World Cup team now enjoys an air of knowledge that would be the envy of many club sides the players go way back.
Lukaku explains how he has known many of his co-players since he was 11 or 12 years old, and they have often recalled the old days when they were collected on international duty. We used to sit all composed at one board and debate who had the best youth team, who was recording the most goals, the events we used to attend. It was cool. We progress to Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 directly and hope to go so far in the title race.
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