Thursday, 12th June 2014 at 12:50 pm
BELGIUM | RUSSIA | SOUTH KOREA | ALGERIA
Nickname: The Red Devils
Manager: Marc Wilmots
Captain: Vincent Kompany
FIFA ranking: 12
Romelu Lukaku is Belgium’s only all-out striker, but he couldn’t wish for better wingers to play with – Algeria’s full-backs are having plenty of sleepless nights.
There’s nothing wrong with Toby Alderwiereld and Jan Vertonghen’s technique, but they’d rather be playing at centre-back – and lack a yard of pace.
Eden Hazard, age 23: An 11 year-old Eden watched on telly as his heroes made it through the group stage in 2002 – at Belgium’s first World Cup since then, he can fire them even further.
2014 squad lowdown
Most capped: Daniel Van Buyten, 77 caps
Top scorer: Daniel Van Buyten, 10 goals
Most represented club: Tottenham – 3 players
Likely formation: 4-2-3-1 (4-3-3)
Formation: 4-3-3 (4-1-4-1)
Playing style: High-pressing
Strengths: Strong, organised defending
Weaknesses: Brazil’s heat will hit them hardest
Star man: Busy midfielder Alan Dzagoev – he can provide that killer pass
Formation: 4-4-2 (4-2-3-1)
Playing style: Counter-attacking
Strengths: Energy, movement and teamwork
Weaknesses: Letting in early goals
Star man: Bundesliga hotshot Son Heung-Min – he’s lethal on the break
Formation: 4-2-3-1 (4-3-3)
Playing style: High pressing
Strengths: Keeping the ball and launching deadly crosses
Weaknesses: Poor quality keepers
Star man: Valencia winger Sofiane Feghouli – their best hope for a goal
For loads more World Cup gossip, exclusive interviews and expert predictions get this week’s Match of the Day magazine, in all good newsagents.