After failing to reside as much as expectations in current main tournaments, Belgium will likely be wanting to show their doubters improper on the World Cup this summer season.
Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad is full of world class stars, together with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
Belgium, who come up in opposition to England of their closing World Cup group sport on June 28, head into the event as one of many favourites and they are going to be buoyed by the early outcomes of Brazil, Germany and Spain.
Right here, Sportsmail assesses how Belgium’s star-studded squad compares to that of their rivals…
Belgium head into the World Cup as one of many favourites as a result of a number of world class names
Roberto Martinez will likely be hoping his Belgium gamers reside as much as expectations in Russia
The Crimson Devils have a robust goalkeeping unit and there will likely be a commanding presence between the posts this summer season.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – who has established himself as the most effective on the earth – will begin in aim in Russia, with fellow Premier League participant Simon Mignolet set to be No 2.
Courtois is among the greatest goalkeepers within the Premier League whereas Mignolet has loads of expertise enjoying on the large stage.
Wolfsburg’s Koen Casteels lacks the expertise on the World Cup, having missed out by means of damage in 2014, however Roberto Martinez may be very unlikely to should name on him.
Within the coronary heart of defence, Belgium actually are usually not in need of choices. Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen present the workforce with a watertight construction on the again.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Meunier will present the width down the precise and isn’t afraid to get ahead when the chance arises.
Belgium might wrestle down the left although, with Atletico Madrid’s Yannick Carrasco just lately being deployed in an uncommon place of wing-back within the nation’s pre-World Cup friendlies.
And Kompany’s damage woes — which imply he is not going to characteristic till the ultimate group sport — may very well be a problem.
Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld and Co will present Belgium with solidity on the again
Alderweireld and his defensive Belgium team-mates have loads of expertise on the high degree
Belgium’s midfield is the place the magic actually comes from. With Kevin De Bruyne and Alex Witsel within the coronary heart of midfield, they may actually not lack the drive or creativity to unlock defences.
And with lethal Chelsea star Eden Hazard on the wing, Belgium may have a continuing risk from the center of the park.
Whereas not all the things has fluently ticked in current main tournaments, you’ll count on them to return out of the blocks in emphatic style.
With the likes of Mousa Dembele and Marouane Fellaini to selected from, Martinez additionally has the choice of energy, power and aerial prowess when his facet come up in opposition to a extra strong nation.
With De Bruyne, Hazard and Co feeding the balls by means of to Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, there ought to be objectives galore for Belgium.
Lukaku, who grew to become Belgium’s all-time high goalscorer on the tender age of 24, will trigger defences a number of issues together with his aerial and ending capacity.
Moreover, Martinez can even name on Napoli’s Dries Mertens and Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi. They’re positively not in need of firepower up high.
OVERALL RATING: 31/40
With the likes of Eden Hazard going ahead, Belgium ought to create a number of probabilities
Romelu Lukaku will likely be given loads of alternatives to attain for the Crimson Devils
Manuel Neuer’s return to health simply in time for the eagerly-anticipated event would have come as an enormous enhance to the reigning World Cup champions.
Issues will linger over his health because the Bayern Munich goalkeeper solely just lately simply returned to motion after having not performed since September with a fractured metatarsal in his left foot.
Nonetheless, regardless of his lack of sport time, he was in first rate kind as Germany shockingly misplaced to Mexico on Sunday.
Germany have probably the strongest goalkeeping depth on the World Cup, with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Trapp behind Neuer within the pecking order.
On paper, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng ought to have supplied know-how to maintain them tight down the center. That was not the case in opposition to Mexico on Sunday, as they struggled defensively.
Apart from Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger and the 2 names talked about above nevertheless, Germany lack any actual type of expertise on the again.
Joshua Kimmich, who began at right-back, loved a advantageous season for Bayern Munich as they gained the Bundesliga for a sixth season working. However he was usually caught out of place in opposition to Mexico.
Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector, Marvin Plattenhardt and Niklas Sule make up the remainder of Germany’s defence.
The return to health of skipper Manuel Neuer has given Germany a large enhance
The truth that Joachim Low overlooked Manchester Metropolis star Leroy Sane from his 23-man squad ought to have been a large testomony to Germany’s unbelievable power in depth.
The Germans, who beat Argentina within the 2014 closing in Brazil, have world class gamers everywhere in the store in midfield, together with Mesut Ozil, Ilkay Gundogan, Toni Kroos and Julian Draxler.
However their struggles, particularly on the a part of Draxler, in opposition to Mexico means the absence of Sane has been questioned.
Germany have a mixture of actual effectivity, tempo and technical capacity throughout the midfield and their gamers will little doubt create a number of probabilities for his or her team-mates.
And so they might impress if Germany flip their kind round following their shock opening loss.
A ahead quartet of Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Marco Reus and Mario Gomez offers Joachim Low choices.
Werner, who has change into a goal for Liverpool, led the road in opposition to Mexico following a advantageous season for RB Leipzig, the place he scored 13 objectives in Bundesliga.
Muller scored 5 objectives on the final World Cup and has the flexibility to run defences ragged together with his distinctive positioning and poaching. In the meantime, Reus and Gomez even have high quality in abundance.
They didn’t impress within the opener although and might want to enhance because the event rolls on.
OVERALL RATING: 30.5/40
Timo Werner led the road for Germany in opposition to Mexico however struggled like his team-mates
The goalkeeping division is the one space the place France lack any actual power in depth. Hugo Lloris is the nailed on No 1 and lacks any actual competitors from the opposite two keepers.
Steve Mandanda of Marseille and Alphonse Areola of Paris Saint-Germain are France’s No 2 and three respectively in Russia this summer season.
Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris can produce some spectacular saves in between the sticks, together with his principal attribute being his tempo coming off his line.
With an Achilles damage ruling Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny out of the event, Samuel Umtiti will companion Raphael Varane within the coronary heart of defence for France.
The pair’s key attributes are their tempo and power and Didier Deschamps will likely be very assured they’ll maintain assaults at bay. There may have been disappointment at Umtiti making a gift of a penalty within the style he did in opposition to Australia.
France can even have a really sturdy steadiness on the again. With Umtiti and Varane protecting issues tight, Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy can present a blistering attacking risk down the flanks.
Moreover, with children like Benjamin Pavard and Presnel Kimpembe in reserve, France’s defence is filled with power and enthusiasm.
Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti present France with energy and tempo within the coronary heart of defence
France have the chance to run their World Cup opponents into the bottom in midfield this summer season.
With Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Corentin Tolisso lining up alongside one another as a 3, France have all the things: tempo, energy, power, technical and aerial capacity, in addition to solidity.
Deschamps additionally has Blaise Matuidi and the ever-reliable Steven N’Zonzi at his disposal from the bench.
Nonetheless, a lot of the nation’s success relies on Pogba, who has just lately struggled for kind at Manchester United. He did impress on Saturday, having a task to play in each objectives as France beat Australia 2-1.
France, who face Peru and Denmark subsequent, ought to flourish in assault with a number of big names up high.
Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe are sure starters for France, whereas Ousmane Dembele acquired the nod forward of Olivier Giroud for his or her first sport.
In every sport, France may have an excellent influence substitute to carry on relying on who Didier Deschamps picks.
Nabil Fekir, Thomas Lemar and Florian Thauvin are additional choices from the bench and might make an enormous distinction.
OVERALL RATING: 31.5/40
Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe will present loads of objectives for France this summer season
2010 World Cup winners Spain would have been assured with their goalkeeping choices heading into the event, with David de Gea, alongside Neuer as the most effective keeper in world soccer, their No 1.
However the Manchester United man confirmed a shocking quantity of frailty as he made an error for considered one of Portugal’s objectives on Friday evening. He palmed a Cristiano Ronaldo strike into the again of his personal internet.
If De Gea is absent for any cause, Spain have the posh to name on both the skilled Pepe Reina or Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has beforehand attracted curiosity from Actual Madrid.
With Sergio Ramos main on the again alongside Gerard Pique, Spain are actually not be in need of expertise and winners in defence.
The Barcelona and Actual Madrid duo have been each a part of the squad that gained the World Cup in South Africa and can present large expertise to these at their first summer season event.
Spain are well-covered on each defensive flanks, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Dani Carvajal down the precise and Jordi Alba and Nacho Monreal on the left.
Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique have that winner’s mentality and may very well be essential for Spain
They might be lacking Xavi and have a soon-to-be retired worldwide Andres Iniesta of their ranks however inventive Spanish sparks will nonetheless be aplenty in Russia.
With Sergio Busquets, who very a lot has an eye fixed for a go, holding the fort in entrance of the again 4, the likes of Iniesta, David Silva, Thiago Alcantara and Isco can very a lot work their magic in attacking positions.
Saul Niguez and Koke make up the remainder of the midfield and have the technical capacity to stroll straight into the formidable Spain squad.
With Alvaro Morata lacking out, Diego Costa heads into the largest event in soccer as Spain’s solely actually out-and-out striker.
Costa led the road effectively after they got here up in opposition to Euro 2016 champions Portugal, scoring twice.
The massively thrilling Madrid teenager Marco Asensio can be set to have an vital function in Lopetegui’s facet.
Nonetheless, aside from that, Spain lack any actual pleasure in assault, with Iago Aspas, Rodrigo Moreno and Lucas Vazquez the opposite ahead gamers.
OVERALL RATING: 34/40
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa is Spain’s solely out-and-out striker on the event in Russia
Argentina are the one high six nation who lack an actual world class goalkeeper of their squad on the World Cup.
After Sergio Romero withdrew from the squad with a knee damage, it has left them with Chelsea No 2 Willy Caballero, Franco Armani from River Plate and Nahuel Guzman as their three choices.
Caballero began in aim for Argentina, which says rather a lot about their scarcity of depth with him struggling to get sport time at Chelsea.
Once more in defence, Jorge Sampaoli’s facet are undercooked in comparison with their World Cup rivals in Russia.
Federico Fazio, Nicolas Otamendi, Javier Mascherano and Marcos Rojo might have the expertise on the large stage however all of them have an error inside them.
Argentina, who misplaced to Germany within the 2014 World Cup closing, have the likes of Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Taglafico, Marcos Acuna and Cristian Ansaldi as full again choices.
Regardless of power in numbers, Argentina lack an actual chief on the again and will simply come undone in opposition to the stronger sides. They even managed to concede in opposition to Iceland.
Argentina lack that actual presence within the coronary heart of defence and will come undone
We’re beginning to get to the enterprise finish of Argentina’s squad. In midfield, their star attraction is Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria, who performed in a extra forward-thinking function.
They might be lacking Manuel Lanzini by means of a torn ACL in his proper knee, however they nonetheless have the protected choices of Ever Banega, Lucas Biglia, Giovani Lo Celso.
Whereas they will not be the star names Argentina have change into accustomed to, the midfield can create loads of probabilities for his or her world class strikers.
And if Argentina need a bit extra metal in midfield, then utility man Mascherano could be deployed there.
Argentina arguably have the most effective assault within the competitors with Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero all at Sampaoli’s disposal.
In Messi, Argentina have the most effective participant in world soccer, whereas Aguero and Higuain are out-and-out strikers who rating objectives for enjoyable.
In the meantime, Juventus star Dybala, who has been tipped to change into the most effective participant’s in world soccer, could be the inventive spark in assault for Argentina and might unlock defences for enjoyable.
However they did wrestle partly in opposition to Iceland, and ended up dropping factors as a result of Messi couldn’t convert a penalty.
OVERALL RATING: 29.5/40
Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero are a part of a star-studded assault for Argentina in Russia
Brazil supervisor Tite may have very a lot loved the battle between Ederson and Alisson – two of the easiest goalkeepers inside the sport – for the No 1 spot this summer season.
Liverpool goal Alisson began in opposition to Switzerland, with Manchester Metropolis man Ederson as No 2 and Cassio being third selection.
Alisson ought to line up with an skilled defence in entrance of him so Brazil should not be too troubled in aim, particularly through the earlier phases.
They didn’t concede many probabilities in opposition to Switzerland, though Alisson might need performed higher for the shock equaliser.
Event favourites Brazil have an skilled defence, led by skipper Thiago Silva. The PSG man had Miranda alongside him within the coronary heart of defence. Brazil even have Marquinhos to name in as a centre again.
Miranda did wrestle when defending in opposition to Steven Zuber for Switzerland’s equaliser.
Brazil have loads of choices to name on at full again, with Marcelo and Danilo set to be deployed as left again and proper again respectively.
Whereas Brazil are identified for his or her attacking aptitude, in addition they have a cussed defence that may restrict the influence of their opposition forwards.
Alisson began in aim for event favourites Brazil on Sunday, with Ederson as No 2
Actual Madrid star Casemiro, who has changed into the most effective holding midfielders, is the enforcer for Tite, permitting his extra attacking team-mates to flourish in entrance of him.
As a result of Casemiro’s presence in entrance of the defence, Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho have the posh to play their very own sport.
The pair each provide fully totally different attributes, with Paulinho offering his lung-bursting runs and Coutinho his good vary of passing.
Coutinho additionally whipped in a sensational long-range aim in opposition to Switzerland to present Brazil the lead.
Tite can even name on the likes of Fernandinho, Douglas Costa, Fred and Co in midfield. Not unhealthy in any respect.
Targets, objectives, objectives. That is what many anticipated from Brazil in Russia. With Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino and Taison in assault, the Selecao ought to be an attacking risk.
They have been restricted in opposition to Switzerland and failed to show early dominance into three factors.
The world’s most costly participant, Neymar, lined-up in his common place on the left, with Willian favoured on the precise. Neymar was a barely subdued determine through the opener on Sunday.
That leaves Jesus and Firmino preventing to guide the road however the Manchester Metropolis striker acquired the nod in opposition to Switzerland.
OVERALL RATING: 35/40
Neymar and his Brazil colleagues up entrance have been barely subdued in opposition to Switzerland
SO HOW DO THE BIG SIX RANK?
It is Brazil who come out on high due to their proficient and balanced total squad. Their rivals Argentina carry up the rear; whereas they’re overloaded with expertise up high, they’re actually missing on the again.
Belgium have a superb beginning XI however lack depth in locations. European rivals Spain and France spherical off the highest three behind the Selecao.
1) BRAZIL: 35/40
2) SPAIN: 34/40
3) FRANCE: 31.5/40
4) BELGIUM: 31/40
5) GERMANY: 30.5/40
6) ARGENTINA: 29.5/40