Belgium vs USA: Despite Injuries, Belgium remain Favorites

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Updated: July 1, 2014
Korea Republic v Belgium: Group H - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Belgium will face the United States in another important World Cup knockout match.

The USMT twitter page said that Jozy Altidore was going to be available for the game. This is bad news for Belgium is that not only is Altidore back, but Thomas Vermaelen is out and Vincent Kompany doubtful for the crucial game.

Belgium vs USA Preview

With a misfiring attack, the Belgians have relied heavily on their defense. They conceded only one goal in the group stages but scored only four goals in the three games. This is a pretty low average considering they have weapons of mass destruction such as Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Napoli’s Dries Mertens. Furthermore, Romelu Lukaku is facing a serious goal drought, will the drought end against the USA or will youngster Divock Origi have to replace him (again).

Although Belgium will be without Vermaelen and possibly their captain,  Kompany, they will still be favored to beat the USA.  It is likely that Jan Vertongen will move into the middle and start at centre back if Kompany can not play. They should be also able to field a a strong attack as long as Marc Wilmots allows the three behind the striker to play with a free flowing attack.

During the qualifiers to the World Cup Belgium went undefeated. They finished with a +14 goal differential and only conceded four goals.  It was Pretty impressive record. Sadly, their form in the qualifiers did not translate to the World Cup. They have been sluggish and even boring to watch. Even though they have won all their games so far, they have not impressed. Their manner of playing is too cautious and in a World Cup being too cautious is deadly. Like the Adidas ads say, it’s #AllInOrNothing.

To beat the USMT, Belgium need to bombard them with constant attacks. As the old proverb goes, “Attacking is the best form of defense”. This constant attack will break down the USMT shaky defense and as Geoff Cameron already knows, Hazard is dangerous, especially when he seems the least dangerous.

Along with Hazard is Kevin de Bruyne, the man in charge of linking up the attacks. The ex-Chelsea playmaker is perfect for Belgium. He is key to Belgium’s midfield fluidity by constantly moving between the flanks in order to supply Hazard and Mirallas. Also, Lukaku needs to play like its the last day of his life if he wants to stay in the Belgian squad after the World Cup and on the radar of big European teams in this transfer window.

Belgium might be susceptible to counter-attacks, but with Axel Witsel helping anchor the midfield Belgium should be able to contain Altidore and Dempsey.

 

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