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Belgium's Transition: De Bruyne, Lukaku Lead New Era After World Cup Disappointment

Posted : 07 June 2024

Belgium's journey through the 2022 World Cup ended in disappointment and internal discord, signaling the close of an era for their celebrated golden generation. Amidst the turmoil, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku emerged as pivotal figures, remaining stalwarts in a squad now featuring several new faces. Following their impressive third-place finish in the 2018 World Cup, Belgium's performance in Qatar fell short, marked by the retirement of Eden Hazard and the departure of coach Roberto Martinez, leading to a wave of changes.


Acknowledging the team's aging roster, De Bruyne remarked on Belgium's need for rejuvenation, echoing sentiments shared by many. The appointment of new coach Domenico Tedesco, at just 38, marked the beginning of a transitional phase, blending experienced players with emerging talents. Despite the overhaul, Belgium progressed unbeaten through Group F, with Lukaku's remarkable goal-scoring prowess setting new records, positioning him among the greats of the game.


Under Tedesco's guidance, Belgium embarked on a 13-match unbeaten streak, albeit against lesser opposition, signaling a promising start to their rebuilding process. Tedesco's efforts earned him a contract extension until the 2026 World Cup, yet the upcoming tournament will be a crucial test for a nation that once held the top FIFA ranking but faltered on the global stage. Jan Vertonghen's wealth of experience provides stability in defense, although the absence of Thibaut Courtois due to injury presents a significant challenge.


Despite Courtois' return to action, his decision to sit out the Euros underscores ongoing tensions with Tedesco, who opted for other leadership choices. Matz Sels is likely to step into the goalkeeping role, supported by a solid defensive pairing of Wout Faes and Vertonghen.


 Belgium's midfield, featuring a blend of youth and experience, relies heavily on the fitness of De Bruyne, who has battled injury but remains a key playmaker. With Hazard and other veteran attackers absent, younger talents like Openda, De Ketelaere, and Doku must step up, complemented by emerging stars like Trossard and Bakayoko.


Belgium's hopes rest on a new generation to fill the void left by departing legends, aiming to rediscover their form on the international stage under Tedesco's leadership.


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