The new golden generation of young Belgian stars are turning heads across the globe, and could be a serious threat to the established soccer powers in Brazil. 

The Star

Centreback stalwart Vincent Kompany is the general of this young Belgian team, and he’ll be a major thorn in the side of any forward who strays into his path. Kompany is a mainstay on the backline of English champions Manchester City, and his on-field leadership is a key component to Belgium’s success. 

Road to Rio

Belgium had its coming-out party during a dominant qualifying run. Put in a tricky group with Serbia, Croatia, and Scotland, Les Diables Rouges ran rampant over Group A, winning eight games and drawing two. Belgium and its Kompany-led defence only conceded four goals in the entire qualifying campaign. 

Fast Facts

  • World Cup Group: H
  • Nickname: Les Diables Rouges
  • Manager: Marc Wilmots
  • Captain: Vincent Kompany
  • FIFA World Ranking: 11
  • Best World Cup Result: 4th place, 1986
  • Qualification Method: 1st in UEFA Group A

How they Fared in 2010

Didn’t qualify. The last time the Belgians were in a World Cup was in 2002, where they were eliminated by eventual champions Brazil in the round of 16. 

Fixtures

Group H

  • Tuesday June 17 – Belgium vs. Algeria, Noon ET
  • Sunday June 22 – Belgium vs. Russia, Noon ET
  • Thursday June 26 – South Korea vs. Belgium, 4 p.m. ET

Outlook

Belgium has become a very trendy dark horse pick to make some real noise at the World Cup. But the reality is that right now, not many sides can boast the amount of depth Belgium has on its roster. Its starting 11 is composed of a who’s who of young stars making waves in the English Premier League and elsewhere. 

The one question mark is Belgium’s experience at the international level. How this team handles its elevated standing will go a long way towards determining whether this group finds success in Brazil. Either way, this side could be making noise on the international stage for years to come