Fifi World Cup 2014

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There is something special about this bunch of Belgians. After falling to eventual champions Brazil in the second round of the 2002 World Cup, Belgium failed to even make the trip to Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010. In the 12-year hiatus, the country has managed to produce a crop of exciting players who look destined for great things. Of course, many of them are already household names in their respective clubs. Thibaut Courtois’ stunning saves were instrumental in Atletico Madrid’s La Liga triumph. Vincent Kompany was the rock in the Manchester City defence and led the team to Premier League nirvana. Eden Hazard was the best player at Chelsea. The common complaint has been that they seldom replicate their club form for country. But they qualified in style, topping a group that contained the likes of Croatia, Serbia and Scotland. Coach Marc Wilmots has a problem of plenty, but the injury to striker Christian Benteke and the lack of natural full-backs are causes for worry. However, a midfield that has the quality of Axel Witsel as well as the trickery of Kevin de Bryune and Adnan Januzaj make Belgium the dark horses.

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