Belgium Team - 2014 World Cup Betting
Best Finish: Fourth, 1986
Manager: Marc Wilmonts
Captain: Vincent Kompany
Key Player: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Group H: With Algeria, Korea Republic and Russia
Anybody who's looking for a good dark-horse bet to win the 2014 World Cup should definitely consider Belgium. This team ended a frustrating run of non-Cup appearances by dominating the UEFA Group A qualifying round. Lumped in a solid six-team pool that included Croatia and Serbia, Belgium went 8-2-0 (W-D-L) and easily grabbed Group A's lone qualifying spot.
What stands out about this squad is all of the young talent that they boast. Star players Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard are now joined by Christian Benteke, Jan Vertonghen, Thibaut Courtois, Axel Witsel and Vincent Kompany. And this is just the beginning of what's developed into a deep and uber-talented team over the past few years.
Of this group, Hazard could play the biggest role in determining whether Belgium meets the increasingly lofty standards put upon them. The Chelsea striker combines incredible dribbling with quick speed and could be destined for a breakout performance this summer. And it's this lethal combo that not only makes him a threat to score, but also create plenty of opportunities for his teammates.
But the question on many people's minds is whether Hazard and company can overcome their lack of international experience. The downside to all of this youth is that they haven't had an abundance of time to gel together like some of the more seasoned contenders.
Given the interesting combination of youth and skills that Belgium features, predicting how they'll fare in the 2014 Cup is somewhat difficult. However, they do have a very favorable draw in group play, competing against Alergia, Korea Republic and Russia – three teams without much previous World Cup success. If Belgium advances out of Group H, as expected, they'll certainly be a formidable team that can match up in any line with the title contenders.