Now or never for Belgium’s golden generation

Courtois is one of the ageing players in the Red Devils team. PHOTO/AFP 

What you need to know:

Defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are 35 and 33 respectively, Axel Witsel is 33, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne are 31. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is 30 while Romelu Lukaku is 29.


People must be tired of waiting for Belgium’s time to come. And if it is not this year, it might never be. Most of the members of the Red Devils’ golden generation are on their last legs and need to win now.

Defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are 35 and 33 respectively, Axel Witsel is 33, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne are 31. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is 30 while Romelu Lukaku is 29.

Belgium have been top of the Fifa rankings without winning any silverware and start their campaign against Canada with focus on how far they can go.

To fail at the first hurdle would be disaster by their standards. For such a strong roster, anything less than a trip to the last four will be a failure.

It was defending champions France that eliminated Roberto Martinez’s charges in the semi-finals four years ago but the work starts today against a Canada side that should not be taken lightly.

Eden Hazard has struggled with injuries since making the big move from Chelsea to Real Madrid but remains one of Martinez’s trusted players, de Bruyne has been in good form for Manchester City while players like Leandro Trossard and Youri Tielemans have also impressed at club level before flying to Qatar.

With the country’s all time goal scorer Romelu Lukaku expected to miss the first two games of the group, Mitchy Batshuayi is in line to lead the goal search.

While most of the Canadian squad plays in the Major League Soccer in the US, they have star players like Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Lille’s Jonathan David who are doing well in Europe.

Davies, however, remains a doubt having missed the country’s pre-world Cup friendlies with a hamstring injury.

While eight members on the Belgium team will be playing their third World Cup, Canada's captain Atiba Hutchinson is the only member of John Herdman's setup that was even alive the last time the Canucks featured at a World Cup in 1986.

Canada, however, finished top of the table ahead of Mexico and the US in the Concacaf qualifiers, and if they can repeat the feat in the World Cup’s Group F, the world will sit up and take notice of them.

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