Belgium’s World Cup campaign, despite their place in the top eight, was underwhelming. They were considered one of the most talented sides. Yet, Marc Wilmots seemed to lack the tactical nous needed for Belgium to earn the right results.
Their performances did not light up the match days. In the group stages, they performed well for certain spells. Their only consistent performance came against the USA in the Round of 16, when they were kept out in normal time only by the heroics of Tim Howard.
Fortunately for Belgium, rebuilding is not a concern. Their team is young; most of the players who will feature in the Euro Qualifiers will have the experience of a World Cup under their belt to aid their progress. Belgium can only get stronger. Despite the talent already available to them, this might be a good team for Wilmots to test starlets such as Thorgan Hazard, younger brother of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard as well as Jordan Lukaku, who is the younger brother of Romelu Lukaku.
Australia, unlike Belgium, took a squad filled with experienced players to the World Cup. They came close to achieving an unlikely win against the Netherlands, twice taking the lead and played well against Chile but had no points to show for their efforts. Australia’s head coach, Ange Postecoglu, has rightfully called up many young players with little or no experience in place of much of the old guard for this match.
His selection includes the likes of Leverkusen’s talented attacker, Robbie Kruse, Fiorentina’s Joshua Brilliante and Fortuna Düsseldorf’s Ben Halloran. Australia needs a fresh approach in order to get better. Postecoglu has kept Tim Cahill in the squad. Cahill, in his last World Cup, provided some magical moments.
Will Belgium be able to show their strength against the Socceroos? Who will win this match?