Belgian fans were disappointed once again when the Red Devils were eliminated by Italy in the quarterfinals of Euro 2020. Belgium was unlucky with the matches as they faced fierce opponents in the knockout stages, but to be fair with the quality they have. at their camp, not even reaching the semifinals is quite unacceptable.
With Belgium’s Golden Generation on the brink of extinction, the Qatar World Cup held in 2022 is probably their latest attempt to bag some silverware. This is how Belgium’s best talents have failed their country on the international stage.
TOP PLAYERS OFFERED BY ADIEU
Almost all members of the golden generation are nearing retirement age. The 30-year mark in soccer is said to be the age when your body starts to sag and soon becomes a “past.” To top it all, many players in the tribe have already retired.
Vincent Kompany, the man who had been leading them all these years retired after the last World Cup. Marouane Fellaini and Moussa Dembele were also promising players in midfield, but they couldn’t find glory with Belgium during their time.
It doesn’t seem so bad so far, but real catastrophe awaits Belgium in the coming weeks, where its entire bottom line could pack. Thomas Vermaelen is 35 years old and currently playing in China, so there is no way we will see him in a Belgian uniform again. Vertonghen is also 34 years old and no longer good enough to compete in big tournaments. Toby Aldervierled is 32 years old right now, which means that even he’s not good enough to lead his bottom line and will likely be retiring in a couple of years.
Dries Mertens is 34, Alex Witsel is 32 and Eden Hazard is 30. Hazard has already become injury-prone and is probably not fit enough to play at the highest level. Witsel has been the stone in midfield for them, but the World Cup in Qatar will be their last tournament with Belgium.
Moving on to the real stars of the squad, Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku. De Bruyne and Courtois are almost 30 years old. This means that the Qatar World Cup in 2022 is the last chance for those two to make a difference for the Belgian team.
In 4-5 years, everyone in the golden generation is going to hang up their boots and Lukakau will only play in this star-studded outfit. He alone is not enough for Belgium to go ahead and earn euros, which means that 2022 is the only chance for Belgium to win a trophy and make its mark in history.
BELGIUM IN RECENT HISTORY
Belgium is the only nation in FIFA history to rank first in international football, but it has not even won a single trophy in 4 major tournaments. The 2018 World Cup finally looked like the year Belgium wins something up to their standards, but they played France in the semi-final and had to go home with a bronze medal hanging around their necks.
In 2016, Belgium’s Golden Generation were truly in their prime with all their players in their twenties. Arguably they had the best team in the tournament and were favorites for the title. However, all of that to nothing, as they were eliminated by an average Welsh team in the quarterfinals.
At Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, Belgium couldn’t even qualify and reached the quarter-finals respectively. Their performance has been average in recent years and while they seemed to win the World Cup in 2018, they tend to bottle it up last.
Well, living in the past won’t do them any good, what they need is a rebuilding. They have tried to stay with the same players month after month, but that no longer works. Belgium have great young talent in their local league, but they never play for them in international tournaments. They need to bring in the youngsters and play with the star players in future tournaments if they want to have any chance of winning a trophy.
We have seen the importance of young people at Euro 2020 and that is exactly what Belgium is missing. The Qatar World Cup in 2022 is literally the last chance for the Belgian Golden Generation to show their power or else they will go down in history as one of the biggest disappointments.