There’s no doubt about it, Belgium have one of the finest squads at the World Cup. Although Roberto Martinez has been in charge for less than two years, he's developed this talented side, and they are in a much better position than heading into previous tournaments. The Red Devils are unbeaten under the Spaniard, and although they are yet to face any of the World Cup favourites, you can only beat what’s in front of you.
With so many attacking options with Belgium, they are a fantastic nation to manage on the World Cup update for FIFA 18. RealSport has all you need to know on taking charge of De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku & co.
Belgium receive a 5 star rating on the World Cup update. This consists of an 85 attack, 82 midfield and 84 defence.
Belgium’s potential World Cup fixtures
Round of 16
Poland or Colombia
Brazil or Germany
It’s not a bad group stage for Belgium, with the Group H table toppers likely to be decided in that final game against England. Martinez’s side should have too much quality for the Three Lions, with a victory setting up a Round of 16 tie against Poland.
Keeping Robert Lewandowski quiet will be the key, and Poland’s lack of other weapons should see you through to the quarterfinals. This is perhaps Belgium’s aim for the tournament, and they will be the underdogs if they face Brazil or Germany at this stage.
You sense however if they come through that clash then they could go all the way in the tournament. France lack experience, Spain lack a clear system and Argentina are far too reliant on Lionel Messi. A World Cup title with this Belgian golden generation is not out of the question.
Roberto Martinez has settled a 3-4-2-1 formation as Belgium boss, but we have gone for a much more defensively stable 4-3-2-1 system.
Star stopper Thibaut Courtois (91 GK handling) is in goal, as Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen set up in the back four.
The sensational Kevin De Bruyne (93 vision) and Mousa Dembele are either side of Axel Witsel in midfield, whilst the electric Eden Hazard (94 dribbling) and Dries Mertens play just off Romelu Lukaku in attack.
On the bench you should have Simon Mignolet, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Defour, Yannick Carrasco, Michy Batshuayi and Christian Benteke.
Belgium have an incredible amount of talent, and the key is to get your star players impacting the game as much as possible.
After the season he's just had, you will want Kevin De Bruyne on the ball during every attack. To maximise the Manchester City man’s impact, head to the instructions tab and alter his positioning freedom to ‘free roam’.
Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens will be looking to pick up the pieces of number 9 Romelu Lukaku, but despite his pace, it’s important the Manchester United forward is high up the pitch. On support runs, make sure ‘stay central’ is selected.
In such an attacking side, it is vital you have balance in your midfield. One of your central midfielders must sit back, and this should be Axel Witsel. On attacking support select ‘stay back while attacking’ and for support on crosses choose ‘stay on edge of box for cross’.
Something similar can be done to the defence as well, specifically with the full backs. Thomas Meunier is a conventional wing-back, and he should be used to supply the width on the right side, so choose ‘always overlap’ on attacking runs.
As for Jan Vertonghen on the other side, you will want to keep the natural centre back in defence so make sure ‘stay back while attacking’ is selected.
Change the mentality
Belgium have the best squad they have ever had, but there does seem to be a mental block in tournaments. The golden generation first emerged at the World Cup four years ago, and after topping a kind group they limped past the United States in the Round of 16 before falling to Argentina in the quarterfinals. At Euro 2016, they finished behind Italy in the group stage, smashed Hungary in the second round but an injury crisis saw them lose 3-1 to minnows Wales in the quarters once again.
The World Cup this summer will be the final tournament that the golden generation are altogether, and although a triumph in Russia seems unlikely, it would be an opportunity wasted if they didn’t get to at least the semifinals. Can you take them all the way on FIFA 18?
Belgium squad player ratings
|Vincent Kompany||32||CB||Manchester City||84|
|Thomas Vermaelen||32||CB LB||Barcelona||80|
|Leander Dendoncker||23||CB CM CDM||Anderlecht||77|
|Laurent Ciman||32||CB||Los Angeles FC||77|
|Timmy Simons||41||CB CM||Brugge||72|
|Kevin De Bruyne||26||CM CAM CF||Manchester City||90|
|Axel Witsel||29||CM||Tianjin Quanjian||83|
|Yannick Carrasco||24||LM||Dalian Yifang||82|
|Marouane Fellaini||30||CM||Manchester United||81|
|Nacer Chadli||28||LM RM||West Brom||79|
|Sebastien Pocognoli||30||LM||Standard Liege||70|
|Luis Pedro Cavanda||27||RM||Standard Liege||69|
|Romelu Lukaku||25||ST||Manchester United||86|
|Dries Mertens||31||CF ST||Napoli||86|
|Michy Batshuayi||24||ST||Borussia Dortmund||81|
|Christian Benteke||27||ST||Crystal Palace||80|
|Kevin Mirallas||30||CF LM||Olympiacos||79|
|Divock Origi||23||ST CF||Wolfsburg||78|
|Adnan Januzaj||23||CF RM LM||Real Sociedad||77|