11 Reasons You Should Support Belgium, The Dark Horse Of Brazil 2014

There are more than 10 famous Belgians now…

1. They play in red, and have been given the not entirely original nickname of ‘The Red Devils.’

2. Historically, Belgium haven’t been a great team. Their best World Cup to date was coming fourth in 1986.

At the time, they were led by Jan Ceulemans.

3. Otherwise, they’ve mostly been eliminated in the very early rounds, before failing to qualify for any major tournament since 2002.

That includes as recently as Euro 2012.

4. But within a few years, a new generation of players has emerged, and Belgium has managed to build a very competitive team.

The highlight of this recent period was a 4-2 win over the consistently strong Netherlands, where they demolished their geographic neighbours with brilliant attacking football.

5. The background to this turnaround is Global-Analytique-Global, a revolutionary youth system.

It was created by the Belgian FA in 2004. The focus was on youth play, and adopting key elements of the French and German styles.

6. It meant Belgium developed a group of extremely talented young players, who were then sold around Europe into elite leagues.

7. Eden Hazard is probably their star player, because he can do things like this.

SKY / Via imgur.com

That’s him breaking the ankles of Pablo Zabaleta, starting right-back for Argentina.

8. But there’s tough competition in the form of Courtois, goalkeeper for La Liga champions Athletico Madrid.

9. And Vincent Kompany, central defender and captain of both Belgium, and Premiership champions Manchester City.

Oh, and that’s Lionel Messi he’s tackling there, who is probably the best player in the world right now.

10. There’s also Marouane Fellaini, Dries Mertens, Mousa Dembélé, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Adnan Januzaj, Kevin Mirallas, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen…

JOHN THYS/AFP / Getty Images

It might just look like a list of names, but most of Belgium’s world cup squad are elite players at the top clubs in Europe, and other teams should be worried.

11. Basically, they stand a really good chance of making a surprise run at the World Cup.

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