Belgium: Three players to keep an eye on at the 2018 World Cup

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Photo Credit: Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe-Zimbio

Limiting the column to three players on a loaded Belgian team was a difficult task in and of itself.  There is some of the best talent in the world at nearly every single position on the field for this tiny nation of a little over 11.3 million people.  I have listed three attacking players because they will be called on to blitz their opposition however this team has plenty of defending talent in the likes of Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany and many more.  That being said, here are three of the more fun players to watch on any team in this tournament:

Kevin De Bruyne (Midfielder, 26, Manchester City:)

Coming off of a spectacular season with Premier League winning Manchester City, De Bruyne is one of the most skilled players in the world.  De Bruyne’s ability to create scoring chances and precise passing will haunt defensive formations throughout this World Cup. This past season at Manchester City, De Bruyne is credited for 12 goals and 25 assists.  With the Belgian squad, he will have teammates that are equally as good if not better scoring options around him than at City. He will most likely be playing as an attacking midfielder for the Red Devils, finding avenues to create scoring chances for one the fleet footed Belgian wingers or moving forward and finding his own opportunities at goal.  Either way, coach Roberto Martinez will allow De Bruyne the freedom to rove in the attacking third and find his spots. Hopefully, this will be the tournament that makes Kevin De Bruyne a worldwide star.

Romelu Lukaku (Forward, 25, Manchester United:)

Romelu Lukaku, the hulking, stout forward for the Belgian National team will be a burden for any opposing side to go against.  His size and athleticism will make sure that he will win more than his share of 50/50 balls kicked in his direction. His ability to play physically and occupy defenders will greatly help open up opportunity for one of Belgium’s talented wingers or De Bruyne to capitalize.  Often compared to former Ivory Coast forward, Didier Drogba, I believe that Lukaku is actually a more skilled player with the ball at his feet than the Ivorian. While Lukaku only scored 15 goals for Manchester United, he has been an absolute goal scoring machine for country.  He was the third highest goalscorer in European World Cup qualifying with 11 goals and should hopefully continue to have a nose for goals in Russia.

Eden Hazard (Forward, 27, Chelsea:)

Eden Hazard will likely be playing as a winger for Belgium, with Dries Mertens playing as the opposite winger.  World Cup 2014 was a bit of a disappointing run but with Kevin De Bruyne around to take some of the creative pressure off of Hazard, Hazard has been able to blossom.  Hazard netted 6 goals during European World Cup qualification while also assisting on another 5. Hazard’s pace and guile will allow for him to make gashing runs into the box and his finishing ability is as good as anybody’s.  I think, without the shackles of the pressure that was put on him in Brazil in 2014, you will see an Eden Hazard playing with a little more freedom and should have a much better tournament this time around.

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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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