Preview: Belgium vs Panama - The golden generation of Red Devils

Amol Gokhale
Sunday, 17 June 2018

After the lean period in their footballing history, they are back on the big stage with the best generation of players

Moscow: Belgium are nicknamed 'Red Devils', just as English Club Manchester United are known. But they don't strike fear in the hearts of their opponents as Man United does, even if its the golden generation of their footballers playing for the country.

Why would their opponents fear to face Belgium when they don't give their opposition coach a sleepless night? The tiny European nation so far hasn't managed to live up to its potential.

They qualified for the Euro 2016 for the first time since they hosted the tournament in 2000 but went out to the debutants Wales. While their run till the quarter-finals of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil was their first appearance at the World Cup after 2002.

So, after the lean period in their footballing history, they are back on the big stage with the best generation of players and are guided by Spaniard Roberto Martinez and Thierry Henry as his assistant.

Golden Generation
Kevin De Bruyn, the first name that comes up to the mind when one mentions the golden generation of Belgium, with obvious similarity in the golden colour of his hair.

But, if one observes, they are one of the 'Crème de la crème' of the Premier League football. Captain Eden Hazard plays for Chelsea and remains one of the hottest property in the game. With 11 goals and 15 assists, De Bruyn was one of the reasons why Manchester City were crowned champions of England.

Although injuries have always marred his career, Vincent Kompany is the leader of the Pep Guardiola side. 

Striker Romelu Lukaku and midfielder Marouane Fellaini play for the Manchester United. Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele are regular starters for Tottenham Hotspur while in goal, they have someone as reliable as Thibaut Courtois.

Abundance of Talent
One can only hope to be a coach of such a talented pool and Martinez certainly has really top-notch talent at his disposal. So far, they have been promising in their friendly games but the real test will only start on Monday.

On paper, it's going to be an easy task to get past debutant Panama. But their final group game against England on June 28 will decide their fate as they could end up facing the World champions Germany in the quarter-finals, which they would love to avoid.

But, for now, the target has to be making it out of the group stage without any hiccups, play the attacking brand that they are playing and show the world - they are the golden generation of Red Devils.

Related News