Belgium Hopes To Ride Generational Talents To Euro Glory
Belgium has every reason to come into the Euro 2020 tournament with confidence about their chances of finally busting out and winning the nation’s first-ever major tournament trophy. They’ve got the best player the country has ever seen, after all.
The Red Devils are coming off of their best-ever finish at the World Cup back in 2018, where they earned third place. Belgium has not had much international footballing success apart from that, which is not all that surprising when you consider that they are a country of just under 12 million people, which is but a fraction of the player pool that countries like France, Germany, England, Italy, etc. can pick from.
Nonetheless, they have had pockets of mild success in the past, though they are often alternated with periods of sustained subpar results. The Belgians finished in fourth at the 1986 World Cup, but they failed to qualify for the tournament in 2006 and 2010 before reaching the quarter-finals in 2014.
Their track record at the Euros is even more peculiar. They finished third in 1972, failed to qualify in 1976, then lost in the final in 1980. They would go on to miss six of the next eight tournaments, bowing out in the group stage both times they did qualify. In the most recent edition, in 2016 in France, they fell in the quarterfinals.
Belgium is entering this tournament with high hopes not just because of a lovely roster, but because of how good they’ve been lately. The Red Devils were one of two teams to win every single game in their Euro qualifying group back in late 2019, going 10-0-0 and beating up on their competition to the tune of a combined 40-3 score.
That’s domination right there, not to mention the fact that two teams from that group also qualified for this summer’s tournament. There were some easy games there, but both Scotland and Russia are expected to be fighting for spots in the Round of 16 draw this summer.
Since then, they have won five of their six Nations League games, putting up a 16-6 combined score against the likes of Denmark, England, and Iceland. Not exactly a soft group either. More recently in March, the Belgians won two of their three World Cup qualifier games.
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) April 7, 2021
Now, on to this peach of a squad. They’ve got one of the best keepers in the world in Thibaut Courtois holding down the net, which is always a huge boost for the rest of the team.
The back line is held down by Jan Vertonghen and Toby Aldeweireld, two of the most reliable and highest capped Belgian players of all time, with the pair sitting first and third with 126 and 107 career international caps, respectively. They’ve also got the likes of Thomas Meunier roaming up and down that right side for the Red Devils, always looking for a sneaky run or a pinpoint cross.
In the midfield we find the jewel in the Belgian crown. Kevin De Bruyne is having another amazing season for Manchester City, who won the League Cup and Premier League again. KDB is already one of the most decorated club players in the world, why not add some international glory to his legacy?
These days, it doesn’t get much better than a ball coming off the boot of the 30-year-old, whether that be a shot, a pass, a through-ball, or a cross. The guy can do it all and should be one of the best bets to win Player of the Tournament honors this summer, offering up some excellent Euro 2020 odds to take home the award.
The vice-captain has quite an arsenal of weapons to which he can pass the ball on to as well. You can pick your poison with the lot. With Romelu Lukaku, you get one of the biggest and toughest guys to cover in the box, Eden Hazard offers world-class skill and a bevy of experience, Dries Mertens brings pace, quickness, and a good bit of skill as well.
Behind that, you’re also likely to contend with the likes of Michel Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, and Divock Origi. De Bruyne truly has an embarrassment of riches playing in front of him in Belgium. The fact that his club, Man City, has been without their top striker for most of the season and De Bruyne has still had the type of campaign he’s had should strike fear into opponents when they see him with this contingent of strikers.
Belgium is sitting tied with the English and French as co-favorites to become Euro 2020 winners, with each offering identical +500 odds to take home the silverware. Any one of these three would be a solid bet, but with De Bruyne at the controls, the Red Devils do seem like a particularly prudent choice.
|Belgium Schedule – Group B|
|June 12||Belgium vs Russia||Gazprom Arena|
|June 17||Denmark vs Belgium||Parken|
|June 21||Finland vs Belgium||Gazprom Arena|
|Belgium – European Championships|
|Best Result||Runners-up (1980)|
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.