HomeWorld Cup 2014BelgiumEURO 2024 Preview: Can Belgium's New Generation Shine?

EURO 2024 Preview: Can Belgium’s New Generation Shine?

Belgium’s Euro 2024 Preview: A Fresh Chapter in the Making

As the footballing world gears up for Euro 2024, the Belgium national team presents a fascinating blend of seasoned champions and promising newcomers under the strategic guidance of Domenico Tedesco. The overhaul of what was once dubbed the ‘golden generation’ has sparked both anticipation and scepticism about whether this fresh wave can finally secure that elusive major international trophy.

Tactical Shifts and New Ambitions

At the helm, Domenico Tedesco has taken bold steps since his appointment in February 2023. His approach is a stark departure from predecessors like Marc Wilmots and Roberto Martinez, who, despite having a star-studded squad at their disposal, concluded their terms without silverware. Tedesco’s tactical flexibility, frequently oscillating between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1 formation, suggests a fresh tactical perspective aimed at exploiting the dynamism of his youthful squad.

Photo: IMAGO

The new manager has not shied away from making significant changes, notably sidelining Thibaut Courtois amidst a controversy over leadership roles within the team. Courtois has since remained outside the national setup, despite his formidable reputation on the club scene.

Emerging Stars to Watch

One of the bright sparks in this rejuvenated setup is Johan Bakayoko. The young PSV winger has captured attention with his electrifying pace and skill. Bakayoko himself has set high aspirations, stating, “In the next five years, I want to be close to winning the Ballon d’Or.” His ambition is backed by a rapidly progressing career graph, having already made a significant impact both at the club level and in his early international appearances.

Core Strengths and Playmaking Prowess

Belgium’s midfield engine includes robust figures like Amadou Onana and Orel Mangala, setting a solid foundation. Above this sturdy base, the creativity flows with Kevin De Bruyne orchestrating play as the quintessential number ten. Flanking him are the likes of Jeremy Doku and Bakayoko, whose agility and speed make them formidable on the wings. Additionally, players like Charles De Ketelaere and Leandro Trossard offer versatility and depth, demonstrating Belgium’s ability to adapt and innovate across their attacking line.

Photo: IMAGO

Veteran Insights and the Road Ahead

Despite the influx of new talent, the squad still benefits from the experience of stalwarts such as Romelu Lukaku, whose goal-scoring prowess will be crucial. Yet, there are gaps, notably in defence, where the retirement of key figures like Vincent Kompany and the aging Jan Vertonghen pose challenges against top-tier competition.

Unity in Diversity

Off the pitch, Belgium’s trilingual heritage brings a unique cultural challenge that the squad navigates through a unified use of English. This linguistic strategy not only aids in tactical discussions but also fosters a more inclusive team environment.

As the tournament approaches, expectations are high back in Belgium. Ranked third globally, the team is not just aiming to top their group but to leverage their collective skill to make a deep run in the competition. The blend of youthful vigour and experienced heads provides a balanced roster capable of adjusting to the pressures of a major tournament.

With a provisional squad that balances emerging talents and seasoned campaigners, Belgium stands ready to confront their past underachievement’s and forge a new legacy. Euro 2024 could very well be the stage where they transform their perennial ‘dark horse’ label into that of champions.

With their eyes firmly set on the prize, Belgium is poised to navigate through Euro 2024 with a blend of strategy, skill, and the audacity of youth. How they meld these elements could dictate the narrative of a nation eager to claim its place at the pinnacle of European football. As they step onto the fields of Germany, only time will tell if this generation will fulfil the promise that has tantalizingly eluded their predecessors.

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