Today was the day many of us were waiting for. We finally got the opportunity to have a good look at Belgium. Are they genuine contenders?
Yes and no would be the answer. Today’s performance was certainly dominant in terms of possession but they were both anaemic (1st half) and cutting (2nd half) in attack. That has got to be concerning. This article (a really good analysis) was spot on with it’s pre-tournament assessment that the Belgians can be magnificent while also being careless in any given game.
As a Spurs fan I’m naturally quite keen to see the Belgians do well. Three Spurs players started (along with one for Algeria – the anonymous Nabil Bentaleb) but none of them really covered themselves in glory.
Jan Vertonghen, a class centre-half, is only an average left back. He was average at left back for Spurs during the last EPL season and he was average this morning. Why? He has less pace than me and that was exposed when he gave away the penalty. Nacer Chadli played like he did for Spurs and got yanked at the break while Mousa Dembele was probably the best of the three.
The Belgians struggled to get through Algeria until they went a bit more direct in the second half. Algeria look like the 2014 version of 2010’s All Whites – tough to break down, athletic, extremely limited in attack. Diego Maradona’s prediction about them being a success, much like Pele’s famous suggestion about an African nation winning the word cup by whenever it was, just proves you don’t necessarily need to take too much notice of what a great player says just because they say it.
I didn’t see much of the other two games – both draws. It sounds like the Mexican goalie had a cracker. It’s good to see them in a decent position to progress. I haven’t really caught up with the other game, Russia’s 1-1 draw with Korea Republic, at all but it looks like I didn’t miss too much.
On we go to tomorrow.
Score picking update
Everyone in the BFWCSPC picked the Belgians to win, and none of us picked draws in the other games, so there hasn’t been too much movement at the top of the table.
Picks for Day 7
Netherlands 2-0 Australia, Spain 1-0 Chile, Cameroon 1-3 Croatia.