Sunday. Piraeus. Greece – Belgium – 1:2. 74-I minute. Just Romelu LUKAKU scored the winning goal. Photo: Reuters
Belgium was the first European teams reached the final tournament of the 2018 world Cup.
Tickets for the world Cup in the European part of the selection according to tradition, are made longer than anywhere else – this format out of the group.
That turned out that by September 2017, only 4 teams (the world Cup hosts are not in the bill) has officially confirmed the participation in the final tournament: Iran, Brazil, Japan and Mexico. 3 September calendar had been turned – the first European team to have passed the selection and became Belgium.
In fairness, and no offense to the rest of the band H it is worth noting, for such a talented, balanced and powerful team like Belgium, Bosnians, Greeks, Estonians, Cypriots and the Gibraltarians – are not rivals. In eight games of the Belgians scored seven victories, once played in a draw, he scored 35 goals and conceded 3.
Crucial for Belgium was the Sunday guest match against Greece. 70 minutes, the team was thoughtfully looking up at the chessboard, then 4 minutes played a game – Vertonghen scored in the 70th, naturalized Portuguese Convict, 73 equalized and a minute later Lukaku failed loop – 2:1. The bill, by which Belgium was the first European entered the favorite list.
The success of Belgium cannot be called accidental – this team was constructed the last 5 years, eventually reaching the quarterfinals at the world Cup 2014 and Euro 2016. All these years worked with the team of mark Wilmots, but last August, before the beginning of a new cycle, it was announced that coaching the permutation – selection process for the 2018 world Cup, Belgium went with the Spaniard Roberto Martinez.
The former coach of Swansea and Everton is known for attention to young players and competent work with them – his teams have always been distinguished by ease and partly carelessness inherent in youth. What is needed for a team where the average age of players does not exceed 26 years. As a result, the Belgians with Martinez at the head to really effortlessly went through the qualifiers, and one of the main characters was an old acquaintance of the Spanish coach to work in the “Everton” Romelu Lukaku.
24-year-old Lukaku this fall may be the best scorer in the history of Belgium: his account is now 27 goals – to Bernard Vorhof, the main Belgian player in the 30-ies, and Field van Himst, Shine in the 60’s-70’s (both have 30 goals for the national team), hand.
Eden hazard, Kevin De bruyne, Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, Lukaku – it is possible to list all the Belgian national team, and to be sure that each player is worthy of mention. The oldest and experienced players playing in the defense – company, Vertongen, Alderweireld. While one of the young generation of Belgians immediately preparing the ground for the next – on the bench Martinez already sitting and waiting in the wings Misha Batchwise, Torhan Azar, Yuri tielemans etc.
The 2018 world Cup will be Belgium 13th in the history of the national team. The best result remains in 4th place at the world Cup in 86, when the Belgians came out of the group, was not allowed into the quarterfinals of the national team of the USSR, which was not helped by a hat-trick of Igor Belanova, on the way to the semi-final was stopped in the penalty shootout, the Spaniards and was about to do the impossible, but got under a skating rink of Diego Maradona and Argentina raced to his second championship title. 0:2 in the semi-finals with the South Americans and 2:4 in the game for 3rd place against the French, but the country still met his players as heroes.
Another bright flash happened recently in Brazil. Then the youth, enthusiasm and well-coordinated game allowed the Belgians don’t just leave the group and reach the quarter-finals, where they were with great difficulty stopped Argentina with Messi at the head.
But now, there is every reason to believe that the result of the world Cup 86 may be repeated. However, why the fans of the Belgian team not to dream about more?
Yegor BYCHKOV, Sport-Express