Few teams have landed the hat trick of group games in the World Cup but Belgium, despite not exactly setting the world alight, have a better chance than most of making it three on the bounce when they face South Korea.
A point will seal the group for Marc Wilmots’ men – the least they should be expecting and aiming for ahead of a tie with a resurgent USA that is around the corner – but based on what we’ve seen this is a fine opportunity for a confidence boosting win even for a side that has been much changed.
Captain Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen drop out due to slight injuries while playmaker Eden Hazard starts on the bench; Jan Vertonghen, Kevin Mirallas, Steven Defour, Anthony Vanden Borre, Moussa Dembele, Nicolas Lombaerts and Adnan Januzaj are all set for starts while Romelu Lukaku is deservedly dropped to the bench after two dreadful performances, with replacement Divock Origi having provided a much higher work rate and much more focus when coming on as a replacement both times and if he continues in the same vein then Belgium’s power game could finally click into gear earlier.
The absence of Hazard is a slight blow for their chances but Dries Metrens, the catalyst for change against Algeria and the standout performer and constant threat against Russia, should enjoy running at Yun-Suk-Young down the right flanks.
Kevin Mirallas and Adnan Januzai are making their debuts at the World Cup but both possess plenty of pace and technical ability and more importantly, they should have plenty of space to run at a South Korea back four that was all at sea when Algeria decided to take them on at pace. Centre backs Hong Jeong-Ho and Kim Young Gwon were especially vulnerable at times when the lies of Sofiane Feghouli, Nabil Bentaleb and Yachine Brahimi went forward and Belgium tonight should have the chances and players to push for a win.
1 pt Belgium (10/11 Spreadex)