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Official Belgium aka The Red Devils thread

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Who'd ever have imagined any of us would be hoping for Van Buyten to start.

Wasn't Vermaelen to blame for Luxembourgs goal as well?

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Don't think you can really blame him for that, it was a great goal.

And Van Buyten is a reliable defender. He always got the stick when things were going bad for us, but we had a lot of issues back then.

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yeah it was a good goal, a shame i had a bet riding on Lux not scoring.. Didn't foresee that kind of strike

VBs had a great career & doesn't get a lot of credit for it, he's played well in the qualifiers as well. It's just that he's not the quickest or most agile defender. At this stage he's more composed/reliable than Vermaelen though. I'd pick VB over Vermaelen as well.

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With Kompany next to him I think he'll do fine. Not that quick, but Kompany is the quick one so that's not going to be a major problem.

We also defend pretty deep, so his strength and size is going to be important as well, something Vermaelen lacks.

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Vermaelen or Van Buyten? Why not Lombaerts? Do feel more confident with him at the back tbh. Could be a personal preference only though.

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I fancy Van Buyten to score several goals on set pieces :cool:

yeah well, could be our secret weapon late in a game that way. Then again I'd rather see a Januzaj in such a role than a long-ball-approach.

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true, but it seems bizarre only a tall player like Van Buyten is considered excellent at set pieces when others can be just as dangerous in the air. Not saying he's no asset or anything, just think it's a bit of a oversimplification, generalisation, to consider him the best option for that by default of his physique.

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Injury scares for Origi and De Bruyne :(

Hopefully nothing serious, especial De Bruyne who is by far our most important player.

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On a more positive note, the start of this world cup is pretty great for Belgium I reckon.

Croatia was very good against Brazil and got robbed pretty much. Holland destroyed Spain 5-1. We beat Croatia 0-2 last time and Holland 4-2. We're going to win the damn thing aren't we?

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On a side-node the Holland game was 2 years ago when they were fielding a team of teenagers with about 10 debutantes and at the time we faced Croatia they apparently were seconds away of knocking out each others teeth.

Different times, different circumstances. I'm still a bit worried about the next game. Tunesia in 2002, Egypt back in 2005, Morocco in 2008, Tunesia last month... these kind of North African teams really aren't our cup of tea.

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On a more positive note, the start of this world cup is pretty great for Belgium I reckon.

Croatia was very good against Brazil and got robbed pretty much. Holland destroyed Spain 5-1. We beat Croatia 0-2 last time and Holland 4-2. We're going to win the damn thing aren't we?

Any more of that talk and we'l be forced to start an 'anyone but Belgium' thread :p

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On a side-node the Holland game was 2 years ago when they were fielding a team of teenagers with about 10 debutantes and at the time we faced Croatia they apparently were seconds away of knocking out each others teeth.

Different times, different circumstances. I'm still a bit worried about the next game. Tunesia in 2002, Egypt back in 2005, Morocco in 2008, Tunesia last month... these kind of North African teams really aren't our cup of tea.

Their team was pretty similar to today. 10 debutants? Robben, Sneijder, De Jong and Huntelaar were all in the line-up.

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Their team was pretty similar to today. 10 debutants? Robben, Sneijder, De Jong and Huntelaar were all in the line-up.

Yeah, hence 'about'. Don't know the exact number, but there were quite a lot of them.

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Any more of that talk and we'l be forced to start an 'anyone but Belgium' thread :p

Everyone loves Belgium :cool:

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Yeah, hence 'about'. Don't know the exact number, but there were quite a lot of them.

It was the first cap for players like Martins Indi and Janmaat.

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think you can also make a team of players who were (first) capped recently and never cut it though, so all in retrospect etc. benefit of hindsight

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think you can also make a team of players who were (first) capped recently and never cut it though, so all in retrospect etc. benefit of hindsight

Not sure what your point is? I was rebutting the statement that we fielded "teenagers", like that was a total other team than we have now. I think Belgium still has the potential to kick our ass, that was what I tried to say.

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thing is Louis is getting credit for his selection politics in the sense that he "discovered" ie gave chances to certain players. That might bge true but I'm sure he did experiment with bad results as well, some players getting a shot to eventually not make it.

Wass a great match at the time though, does seem a turning point for us and maybe as well for the Dutch then? Although with the benefit of hindsight etc.

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probably cause I cannot be bothered to finish off the logical thought following that, and cause it'd lead to all sorts of places not directly relevant. Maybe.

Good point though, will keep that in mind for the future.

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The only thing I was saying was that it was a friendly game, with a new coach and at least 4 inexperienced debutantes in their defense. Pretty normal they were looking a bit shaky back than. But you know they had time to adjust and gain experience. You know different circumstances. The game could go either way if we faced each other again this tournament. I'm not denying or doubting the quality or talent of the players btw. Not sure where the rest of you are on about. :D

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probably cause I cannot be bothered to finish off the logical thought following that, and cause it'd lead to all sorts of places not directly relevant. Maybe.

Good point though, will keep that in mind for the future.

yeah but you tend to say what seems like a full sentence and then add "etc" when it doesn't seem like anything is supposed to follow it :D

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Buffalo getting in discussions is not fighting, it's his way of life! Seeing the line-up for the game: such a shame you don't have a good left back. Vertonghen-Kompany in centre with Courtois behind them has (in potential) world class oozing over it.

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I don't understand why Nacer Chadli keeps getting so much playing time for club or country. I've never seen him do anything remotely good.

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switch Vermaelen and Vertonghen and Lombaerts instead of Vermaelen. I also think Alderweireld was quite decent vs Algeria although I'd have preferred VdBorre to start the match. What struck me was the knack to go central all the time in the first half. The key to unlock these kind of teams is imo to keep the pitch wide, play via the flanks, and use an infiltrating player like Fellaini, and the striker (Lukaku/Origi) to connect to the crosses, midfielders picking up any second balls. So a VdBorre in that match for example. Seems we had enough defensive cover all the time as Algeria were so far back all the time our central defenders often had no Algerian in front of them when in possession.

Ah well, 3 points in the bag.

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Indeed should have used the flanks way more. Still 3 points though.

Now Russia.

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Yeah approach was far too cautious. At half time I'd probably taken off either Vertonghen or Alderweireld for a midfielder or VDBorre.

At least in the final 20 minutes they showed what they are capable of. I hope it was enough to calm the nerves so they can start against Russia by playing as good as they can and not like a bunch of nervous kids.

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Lukaku didn't touch the ball in the opposition half yesterday, apparently? Wow, that takes some doing, if true

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You probably mean in their box. He did touch the ball in the opposition half, I don't think he ever set foot in our own half.

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And Lukaku was poor, but he also didn't get much help from his teammates. I think over the entire 60 minutes that he played, he received maybe 5 passes with which he could do something.

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Lukaku didn't touch the ball in the opposition half yesterday, apparently? Wow, that takes some doing, if true

Can't be right. I remember at least two clumsy first touches.

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Sure hope Origi starts next game instead of Lukaku. Hope Mertens will start as well but I'm pretty sure he will.

First half was dreadful, I've never seen our team this nervous. There was no bal circulation, no movement, no pace. Yes Algeria set out to defend, but that's no excuse. Players of this quality should always be able to force something. Or at least try.

That being said, I don't think we should be starting games with both Witsel & Dembele. They're both strong on the ball but are both controlling. You need at least one CM that goes forward. For me that means Fellaini in, Moussa out. Especially in games when the opponents set out to defend & we need to break their defense down.

I don't understand why Nacer Chadli keeps getting so much playing time for club or country. I've never seen him do anything remotely good.

Not seen many Belgium games I reckon? Apart from yesterday I've never been disappointed by him. And yesterday wasn't just him, it was a collectively poor performance.

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thing is he should be played on the flank and not central imo, more from the left. Especially don't see how the combination with Dembele as well would work.

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The game against Tunisia was a good warning but nobody really seemed to care. Then again the slow tempo has always been a problem. We struggle against any organised defensive team. Remember how Macedonia at home was one of our toughest qualifiers. With no overlapping fullbacks and wingers who constantly cut inside we create an easily defendable funnel. Add to that Witsel-Dembele who slow down the tempo and you struggle to create chances.

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I agree the slow tempo has always been a 'problem' although usually it's not a real issue. We monopolise the ball and patiently play our game & it tends to pay off.

But yesterday there was a nervousness about them.. they just seemed clueless as to what to do. Which is surprising to say the least, given the amount of video analyses they reportedly watched..

I'm going to blame it on the nervousness of the first game. Can't forget it's the first world cup experience for most of them. We didn't play great but at least we won.

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I'd let De Bruyne to drop a bit deeper and then play Fellaini in support of the striker. Also against super defensive sides bring in Vanden Borre who can contribute on the offensive end.

Against better sides we can still revert to Alderweireld and Dembele for more defensive stability.

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The benefit of our approach is that we hardly give away chances. Usually 1 or 2 goals is enough to win for us, if you don't make silly mistakes like last night obviously.

A bit like Spain in 2010, only obviously not as good :D

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Because our midfield is packed with quality?

Is he competing with Witsel or Dembele?

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Witsel has no competition for Wilmots, he always plays if he's fit. And I agree btw, he's brilliant in his role as defensive midfielder.

Defour competes with Dembele and Fellaini mostly.

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Witsel is very overrated in Belgium. He's good. He's even very good. He's not brilliant or even 'world-class' in contrary what people try to make of him.

I'm gonna be honest, I was very skeptic before the Algeria match. Right now I'm feeling rather pessimistic. Mostly because our performance last night was not a fluke against a poor team - even though Algeria's only intention was to park the bus - but it's just a confirmation of what 'certain player's' and the team in general have been showing for years and go's back to the England friendly in 2012, our entire campaign (Croatia at home, Scotland at home until '68, Macedonia at home, Serbia at home, Wales at home), the past friendlies and the past game.

We can't bring up the pace, too little movement, poor backs, bad link-up play, etc... These problems did not miraculously disappear against Algeria and they're not gonna against Russia, South Korea or any other possible future teams.

About the line-up yesterday. Not including the central defender position (Vermaelen was just not good enough before the tournament) there were only 2 positions in doubt before the game: The right-wing and who would join Witsel and De Bruyne on the midfield.

Wilmots had to make 2 choices and with Dembele instead of Fellaini and Chadli instead of Mertens he choose 2 times wrong.

For the next game it seems more than logical that Mertens and Fellaini should start. Lukaku played a very unsuccesful match against Algeria and I'm not his biggest fan, but I do acknowledge he has certain qualities that will better come to use against more attacking opponents with more space behind the defense. Seems a bit risky to put all our faith in a still only 19 year old Origi while possibly ruining the only other alternative we have. Lukaku should keep his position against Russia imo.

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