Odds Belgium Will Win World Cup 2014
Belgium entered the World Cup Qualification Stage as a dark horse and emerged as a favorite. A strong -175 favorite to finish atop Group H in Group Stage play, the Belgians are also an interesting 14/1 to win their first title, trailing only perennial favourites Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain. Belgium’s emergence is all the more incredible given that they are returning to World Cup play after failing to qualify in 2006 and 2010.
The stars could be aligning for Belgium at Brazil 2014. The squad was a top pod seed and will enjoy the benefit of drawing into what is considered to be a weaker group. With just one player among their expected starting 11 over the age of 29, Belgium is sending a young team on the pitch. The jury is out as to whether that is a good thing. However, the true test will come in the Knockout Stage, where a first-place finish in Group H will likely mean a showdown with Argentina in the quarterfinals.
Early World Cup Pick
Belgium’s toughest competitor in the Group Stage will likely be Russia, who returns to World Cup action for the first time since 2002. That was also the last time the two squads met in World Cup action, with Belgium winning their Group Stage match, 3-2. More recently, the two squads met in a 2010 friendly, also won by Belgium, 2-0. It has been 15 years since Belgium faced South Korea in a 1999 friendly, which they won 2-1, and over a decade since they posted a 3-1 win over longshot Algeria in a 2003 friendly. On paper, the Belgians should dominate and are capable of posting victories in each of their Group Stage matches.
Belgium Qualifying Results - How they got to the World Cup
Belgium went unbeaten in the Qualification Stage amassing 26 points in European qualifying Group A and not giving up more than a goal in any of their qualifying matches.
07/09/12 Wales 0 – 2 Belgium
11/09/12 Belgium 1 – 1 Croatia
12/10/12 Serbia 0 – 3 Belgium
16/10/12 Belgium 2 – 0 Scotland
22/03/13 Macedonia FYR 0 – 2 Belgium
26/03/13 Belgium 1 – 0 Macedonia FYR
07/06/13 Belgium 2 – 1 Serbia
06/09/13 Scotland 0 – 2 Belgium
11/10/13 Croatia 1 – 2 Belgium
15/10/13 Belgium 1 – 1 Wales
Belgium World Cup Group Play Schedule
17/06/14 Belgium vs. Algeria - Estadio Mineirão
22/06/14 Belgium vs. Russia - Estadio do Maracanã
26/06/14 South Korea vs. Belgium - Arena Corinthians
Belgium Key Players
Eden Hazard MF Chelsea – The 23-year-old’s star is on the rise in the English Premier League. Known for scoring spectacular goals one-on-one, Hazard will lead the Belgium offense.
Thibaut Courtois GK Atletico Madrid – Just 22 years old, Courtois is already considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world. His recent success with Atletico Madrid bodes well for Belgium at Brazil 2014.
Christian Benteke FW Aston Villa – Another of Belgium’s young stars, Benteke potted 10 goals in 26 games this season for Aston Villa.