The Downfall Ahead of Germany 2006, the Red Devils had fallen to unprecedented depths in the FIFA ranking. Only 4 years earlier we held onto a spot among the top 16 but by 2006 we weren't even in the top 50. Finally, in June 2007, we bottomed out ... 71st place and an all time low. Seeing that we have stood our ground from the very beginning ... these have been strange times. The squads of the Golden Age are well documented ... in the 70s & especially in the 80s we were real contenders ... a solid organisation, that was tough enough to handle world champions, and quality players like Scifo, Ceulemans, Gerets and Pfaff to complete an already robust collective. We remained seeded as one of the elite teams at the World Cup of 1990 and the last time that we earned our seed alongside only 4 other teams, our host was the American FA, i.e. USA1994. That World Cup I remember all too well. Being overly confident after beating the Dutch to take the lead in our group, we made a huge mistake by losing it in the final game against S.Arabia. Although this meant facing Germany instead of Ireland, I have no regrets. We had obviously taken the most difficult path to the quarter-finals but during that match against sie Germans the Red Devils rose to the occasion and it became a very close call. At least that double foul on Weber gave us something to moan about. The 1998 squad also boasted quality players but the Belgian FA had put Leekens at the helm. As we know his ego is enormous and his contentious nature clashed with the stars of that generation ... especially Nilis who vowed never to return to the Red Devils. Still a faltering FA had given Leekens a 2nd chance in charge of the current Golden Generation. History threathened to repeat itself ... were it not for Bruges who fell on that sword before "Mac the Knife" had reached a doom rate of 100%. Unlike mister 90% ... Wilmots can lead a stellar team that's willing to go beyond 100%. He had already proven his leadership in 2002 when it was "War Hog" Wilmots who led on the field ... his disallowed goal against a Brazilian team that went on to become World Champions is one of those oddities from a tournament that robbed nations of their dreams. After 6 successive World Cup campaigns the Red Devils failed to qualify twice and were drawn to despair in search of a 12th World Cup berth. Now the former senator has returned to oversee the Renaissance of the Red Devils ... the hand of Wilmots has visibly moulded our Golden Generation into a solid squad that would go to hell & back to win the World Cup. I wish Wilmots the best of luck and let's hope he receives a knighthood at the end of his tenure. Past Squads (wiki containing previous squads) These 2 line-ups consist of 11 players each that played the most games ahead of the World Cup and directly after. The objective is to compare previous teams with the current one. When you have a good idea of which line-up would have made it onto the pitch during these 2 World Cups ... feel free to add the info. Red Devils - World Cup 2006 Proto (GK), Hoefkens, Van Buyten, Leonard, Vandenborre, Geraerts, Goor, Buffel, Simons, Pieroni, Vandenbergh. Red Devils - World Cup 2010 Bailly (GK), Alderweireld, Kompany, Van Buyten, Vermaelen, Simons, Fellaini, Dembele, Hazard, Mirallas, De Sutter Current Squad (4-2-3-1 based on World Cup 2014 qualifiers & games played/total Caps) Courtois (Chelsea - on loan to A.Madrid) Alderweireld (A.Madrid) Kompany (Manchester City) Vermaelen (Arsenal) Vertonghen (Tottenham) Fellaini (Manchester Utd.) Witsel (Zenit) Dembele (Tottenham) De Bruyne (Chelsea) Hazard (Chelsea) Benteke (A.Villa) + Mignolet (Liverpool) Van Buyten (B. Munich) Lombaerts (Zenit) Defour (Porto) Chadli (Tottenham) Mirallas (Everton) Mertens (Napoli) Lukaku (Chelsea - on loan to Everton) ... Future Squad Of course this squad will build on the young & gifted players that have already been capped. I'll "scout" for exciting prospects, e.g. Ferreira-Carrasco, Bakkali, Januzaj, Jr. Malanda, Tielemans, Bruno, Praet, Charly Jr. Musonda, ... and keep this thread updated. When you've got something to share ... please feel free to post anything & everything that has to do with the Red Devils: probable/recently released line-ups, (recently capped) player bio's, breaking news, etc.