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Last World Cup: Did not qualify
Nickname: Red Devils
Coach: Marc Wilmots
Star man: Eden Hazard
Tournament best: Fourth 1986

Back at the finals over a decade since their last appearance, Wilmots presides over a highly capable generation of players who could go far in Brazil.

Strengths: While they were one of seven finalists to score in every game, Belgium's qualification was founded on a tight defence: only Spain conceded goals at a lower rate than their 0.4 per match. They created a greater proportion of goals from wide areas than anyone except Croatia and only two teams were more reliant on set pieces, with corners being a particular speciality.

Weaknesses: Belgium boast one of the more well-rounded attacks in the tournament, with the worst criticism that one could level at them being that they rarely scored more than twice. It's likewise hard to pick too many holes in a defence that conceded so infrequently, but it's worth noting that three quarters of the goals they shipped were created from wide positions and a similar proportion arrived late in matches.

Prospects: All three of their Group H opponents had trouble defending their flanks, with Algeria and South Korea also vulnerable from set pieces, so creating chances shouldn't be a problem. The Algerians' attacking strength down the flanks might surprise them however, as could South Korea's habit of scoring late.

 

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