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How will Belgium line up at UEFA Euro 2020?

Sat 05 June 2021 | 14:30

Belgium has always been hard-to-beat opponent in UEFA Euro tournaments, and it has always been about the performance of 11 players who get to represent their country in the tournament, but who are those 11 athletes and who is going to have the chance to represent Belgium in Euro 2020? We are here to discuss it.

Belgium

finished third at UEFA Euro 1972 during the national player career of striker Paul Van Himst, the most recognized Belgian footballer of the twentieth century.

After that, they went through two golden ages with a plethora of talented players. The team finished second at UEFA Euro 1980 and fourth at the 1986 World Cup during the first period, which lasted from the 1980s to the early 1990s.

In the second, Belgium led the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in November 2015, and finished third at the 2018 World Cup, under the supervision of Marc Wilmots and later Roberto Martnez in the 2010s.

Belgium is the only national team in the world to have topped the FIFA rankings without winning a World Cup or European Championship.

Before we get to the article, let's check out the fixtures for Belgium: (All times are based on central Europe)

Saturday 12 June (21:00): 

Belgium vs Russia

(St Petersburg)

Thursday 17 June (18:00): 

Denmark vs Belgium

 (Copenhagen) 

Monday 21 June (21:00): 

Finland vs Belgium

(St Petersburg)

How will Belgium line up at UEFA Euro 2020?

Reportedly Belgium would probably use the 3-4-3 formation. A key benefit of the 3-4-3 formation is that it allows teams to create havoc on the opponent by overloading the wings with players.

Users of this formation can attack heavily on either edge of the pitch, forcing the opposition to spread out and be less compact, with two wing-backs assisting in both attacking and defensive phases and the front two wingers tracking back opponent fullbacks.

How the manager is going to fill the spots of this formation? Well, the players available (the players who were named for the Euro 2020 squad) are as following:

  • Goalkeepers

    : Simon Mignolet, Thibaut Courtois, Matz Sels

  • Defenders

    : Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweireld, Jason Denayer

  • Midfielders

    : Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Timothy Castagne, Leander Dendoncker, Hans Vanaken, Dennis Praet, Youri Tielemans, Thomas Meunier, Yannick Carrasco, Thorgan Hazard, Nacer Chadli

Forwards

: Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens,

Michy Batshuayi

, Romelu Lukaku, Jeremy Doku, Leandro Trossard

The final decision of who should the manager choose for the best result remains for the manager himself. However, we are here to predict which 11 players have the highest chance to be chosen as part of the starting eleven in the Belgium Euro 2020 lineup.

Let’s get to the players of the

Belgium Euro 2020 squad

in instant.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

Starting with the most important role of football, let us discuss who is the best choice to fill in the goalkeeper position in the

Belgium squad for Euro 2021

.

Thibaut Courtois

has been described as a "complete goalkeeper" with few flaws due to his wide range of abilities. He has a good positional sense, good mentality, composure, strength of character, and the ability to communicate well with his defenders.

He also excels in one-on-one situations due to his ability to time his runs effectively when rushing out of goal to face opponents and has even served as a sweeper-keeper on occasion.

Despite his size and intimidating frame, he has distinguished himself as an outstanding shot-stopper between the posts, as well as for his agility and fast reflexes.

Courtois played every minute of Belgium's UEFA Euro 2016 qualification campaign, enabling the country to qualify for the tournament for the first time in 16 years. He did, however, miss their last two games due to injury.

Despite establishing an early lead, Courtois and his team advanced to the quarter-finals, where they were defeated by Wales. Following the game, Courtois said that Belgium coach Marc Wilmots was to blame for the loss, calling it his "biggest disappointment" in his career.

He was included in the final team for the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament on May 17, 2021, and hopefully, he is going to be included as the starting eleven of the Belgium Euro 2020 squad.

CB: Jan Vertonghen

Jan Vertonghen

should be in the starting eleven of the Belgium Euro 2020 squad. Why? Experience.

In a 2–1 home loss to Portugal in UEFA Euro 2008 qualification on June 2, 2007, he made his senior debut for the national squad. He was fouled by replacement attacker Hugo Almeida, who was sent off, toward the end of the game. Vertonghen was also selected for the 2008 Olympics, where he appeared in every game as the Belgians finished fourth.

During a training session with the Belgian squad early in the 2014–15 season, Vertonghen knocked a youngster unconscious with a wayward shot. He tore two ligaments in his ankle in an injury while practicing before the UEFA Euro 2016 quarter-final against Wales, and as a result, he missed the match, which Belgium lost.

CB: Toby Alderweireld

When you hear Jan Vertonghen, you immediately think of another player, who has been playing by his side in Tottenham in recent years.

Toby Alderweireld

is our next nominee for the center-back position. His combination with Vertonghen would be as perfect as peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich.

On November 13, 2009, Alderweireld was called up to the Belgian U21 squad for the 2011 UEFA U21 Championship qualifier against Ukraine, which ended 2–0 in favor of Ukraine. On September 7, 2010, he played right back in a 2012 UEFA Euro qualification match against Turkey.

CB: Jason Denayer

Here is a new name,

Jason Denayer

. Although he was named in the previous Euro competition, he was left on the benches most of the game. We hope that he will get decent playtime in the Belgium squad for Euro 2021.

The 25-year-old is quick and nimble, and he learned how to move forward with the ball and keep control at tense moments during his time in Turkey as a right-back. His game revolves around holding the ball down and playing out of the back, and he isn't afraid to floor opponents thanks to his unrivaled core strength and ability to shrug forwards off the ball.

National team manager Marc Wilmots called him to the Belgian national team for the first time on October 2, 2014, for their Euro 2016 qualification match against Andorra.

Denayer was named to more international squads for Euro qualifiers against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Wales, as well as a friendly against Iceland. In each of these four games, though, he was an unused substitute.

Denayer made his senior international debut for Belgium on March 31, 2015, against Israel at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier. In the 67th minute of Belgium's 1–0 win over Aston Villa; he came on to replace Christian Benteke of Aston Villa.

Denayer was named to the final 26-man roster for the rescheduled UEFA Euro 2020 on May 17, 2021.

LWB: Thorgan Hazard

Thorgan Hazard

 is one of the most impactful players on the pitch thanks to his intelligence and creativity. He has exceptional positional awareness, and his movement in the last third makes him incredibly dangerous. Thorgan Hazard's speed and directness are also valuable assets.

He is an exceptional player but lacks experience. We hope that he would be given the chance to prove himself in the Belgium squad for Euro 2021.

RWB: Thomas Meunier

This season,

Meunier

has mostly played as an offensive full-back or right-wing-back. He contributes to the team's attacking build-up and prefers to spend most of his time in the opposition's half.

His defensive side of the game, cannot be overlooked, as he provides defensive consistency to his team. He can be a box-to-box player who is active down his entire side because of his amazing engine. These traits make him a perfect fit for Belgium Euro 2020 lineup.

Following his call-up to the Euro 2016 squad, Meunier played the entire 90 minutes at right-back in the UEFA Euro 2016 group stage, then set up a goal for Axel Witsel in a 3–0 win over the Republic of Ireland while keeping a clean sheet.

Four days later, he preserved another clean sheet in 90 minutes at right-back in another win over Sweden. In Belgium's 4–0 round of 16 wins over Hungary, he also started. Meunier made five appearances for France at the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament.

Meunier scored his first senior international goal in Belgium's 8–1 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification win over Estonia at the King Baudouin Stadium on November 13, 2016, exactly five months after the conclusion of UEFA Euro 2016.

Meunier scored his first career senior international hat-trick in Belgium's 9–0 win against Gibraltar on August 31, 2017, in a match in which he also had four assists. He scored the opening goal in Belgium's 4–3 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 7, 2017, to finish the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with five goals and seven assists from eight games.

Let's see who is the next nominee for the

Belgium Euro 2020

starting eleven and why.

CM: Leander Dendoncker

He isn't particularly quick, therefore he relies on good positioning and tackling to reclaim possession. He quietly goes about his business while enabling others to thrive around him, providing a defensive framework for the squad.  This athlete alone can be a huge performance boost for the whole squad that’s why we reserved a spot for him in

Belgium Euro 2020

lineup.

Dendoncker

made his 100th competitive appearance for Wolves on January 22, 2021, in an F.A. Cup 4th Round contest against non-league Chorley, which Wolves won 1–0.  On 5 April 2021, he scored his first goal of the 2020–21 season in a home league match against West Ham United.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

No wonder he is in our Belgium Euro 2020 lineup since

De Bruyne

is widely considered as one of the top players in the world, and he has been dubbed a "complete" footballer on numerous occasions. In the media, he is regarded as a versatile and highly talented player who primarily plays as a central or attacking midfielder but can also play as a winger or second striker; he has also been deployed in a deeper creative midfield position, or even in a box-to-box role on occasion, or as a false nine.

De Bruyne scored twice in a 6–0 thrashing of Andorra in UEFA Euro 2016 qualification on October 10, 2014, equaling the team's best win in a European qualifier established in 1986. De Bruyne scored in a 3–1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on September 3, 2015. De Bruyne scored in a 4–1 win over Andorra on October 10, 2015, securing Belgium's place in the UEFA Euro 2016 championships.

Three days later, he scored in Belgium's 3–1 triumph over Israel, securing the group's top spot. De Bruyne was named to Belgium's final 23-man Euro 2016 team on May 31, 2016. Let’s move on to another obvious choice for

Belgium Euro 2020

.

LW: Eden Hazard

There is no need to introduce

Eden Hazard

as he is considered one of the best footballers in the world. It was obvious that he would be in our Belgium Euro 2020 lineup as he is one of the best players on the team.

Hazard developed into a world-class player at Chelsea, where he was predominantly used as a left midfielder, allowing him to cut into the center and hit on goal with his better right foot. During the 2014–15 season, he won many honors and got accolades from critics and managers alike, highlighting his progress into one of the world's top players.

Hazard earned his 100th cap for Belgium in a 2–0 away win against Cyprus in the Euro 2020 qualifiers in March 2019, scoring the game's second goal. Belgium was the first side to qualify for the tournament, thanks to Hazard's leadership. He was included in the final team for the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament on May 17, 2021.

RW: Dries Mertens

Mertens

is a versatile and hardworking attacker who is quick, inventive, small, and nimble, with a low center of gravity and outstanding technique and dribbling ability, allowing him to get past opponents when in possession of the ball, these factors make him a perfect fit for offensive positions in our Belgium Euro 2020 lineup.

He is noted for his ability to both score and create goals and is capable of getting onto the end of passes or creating space for himself or his teammates by making attacking runs into the box. He has good vision, passing, shooting ability, mobility off the ball, and an eye for goal.

Following the World Cup, Belgium began their Euro 2016 qualification campaign. Mertens scored his first brace for Belgium in their opening qualifying encounter against Andorra, scoring twice in three minutes. In a 3–1 triumph over Israel the following year, he scored one goal and assisted on another, ensuring Belgium's top spot in their qualifying group.

He was then picked in Belgium's squad for the tournament proper, appearing in all five of the country's matches as Belgium fell to Wales in the quarter-finals for the second time. Let us see who’s the next on the list of Belgium Euro 2020 players.

ST: Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

is our last nominee for the last position for Belgium Euro 2020.

Lukaku is a left-footed player who was named one of the ten most promising young players in Europe by The Guardian in 2014.

Lukaku, a tall and physically muscular striker with a goal-scoring eye, has been known to use his aggressiveness to get past defenders. Despite his stature, power, physical frame, and ability to hold up play with his back to goal, his preferred role is as an out-and-out striker or poacher; he can also play as a winger due to his tactical versatility.

He boasts pace, athleticism, awareness, good link-up play, technical characteristics, and vision, as well as the ability to get into good offensive positions or create space for teammates with his intelligent moves off the ball, in addition to his physical skills and goalscoring abilities.

Lukaku scored a consolation goal in a 2–1 loss to Portugal on March 29, 2016, assisted by his brother, Jordan Lukaku.

Lukaku scored twice in Belgium's 3–0 second group stage triumph over the Republic of Ireland on June 18, 2016, at UEFA Euro 2016. Lukaku scored his 50th and 51st international goals in a 9–0 home triumph over San Marino in a Euro 2020 qualifier on October 10, 2019.

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