World Cup 2018 - Official Red Devils in Russia Thread

Discussion in 'Belgium' started by Blondo, May 22, 2018.

  1. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    TL;DR Nainggolan is simply too good to ignore

    Can't say I wasn't dreading what Martinez had in mind for Nainggolan ever since they fell out. Even though Martinez would at best have brought Radja along as a benchwarmer, considering Martinez's views on him, I was still pained to find out he didn't even make the 28 man provisional squad. IMO Radja belongs in our Russia 2018 team. At the very least he's a great supersub, especially as our depth isn't as good as the favourites for the World Cup, and he'd be a nailed-on starter in games we use a more defensive 3-5-2 or a 4-2-3-1. Martinez very well knew how much of a fan favourite Radja is, that there was a fair chance he'd retire, that the media would make a meal of it, that this will cause waves in the dressing room, ... Martinez has made life a lot harder for himself. He has created far more controversy which wouldn't be the case if he simply calls up a top quality midfielder ... one that has played better, more often and at a higher level than quite a few that did get a call-up ... players that aren't as versatile, that aren't in his class, that aren't no-brainers who'll make the team better. Martinez has made a massive gamble while in all likelihood Radja wouldn't have caused trouble and instead would have made his impact felt on the pitch, for which there's plenty of evidence while very little supports Martinez's gamble.

    Martinez has said in the past he's looking for certain profiles that fit well together. More recently he added that Nainggolan was left out based on the last two years. During that period Martinez has claimed a couple of times that in Radja's position others had performed better. For Martinez Radja can only play higher up the pitch, saying he views him as a No.10. Nonsense, it's a smokescreen as Radja is head and shoulders above many that have received call-ups but not our very best of course, while Witsel is untouchable in the holding role, despite Radja promising he'd move heaven end earth to protect the backline and has done so before (at club level). Nainggolan wasn't handed many chances and was mostly tried out in friendlies (experimental sides, subs). A versatile player like Radja could have been very useful in Russia, especially considering Martinez has repeatedly emphasized how important tactical flexibility is. Had Defour been fit, he'd walk straight into the team. Tielemans or Dendoncker not having a great season, no problem. Those that played very little or poorly still get called. For Januzaj the last two years in the wilderness didn't matter to Martinez, holding him to a lower standard, as in his case turning up in the last games for his modest club was enough. If Radja had been playing in China like Witsel and Carrasco, he might have stood a better chance, seeing Martinez cares little that Radja plays in the CL and he's one of the best players in Serie A.

    From over a year ago ...“It makes no sense,” Radja told Nieuwsblad. “He calls Youri Tielemans who is sitting on the bench and playing only a few minutes at Monaco. When he was appointed, Martinez said that the Red Devils must play in top competitions. Now that Axel Witsel is in China, suddenly that doesn’t apply anymore? That’s all fine, but I have to step up my game?”

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    Belgian guy repped this.
  2. ra_sriniketan

    ra_sriniketan Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Boyata, Ciman, Chadli, Janujaz, Fellaini, Tielemans, Beneteke, J Lukaku!!!

    Radja, Praet, Depoitre!!!

    Whats going on!
     
  3. avdmeers

    avdmeers Member

    Nov 14, 2013
    Belgium
    Club:
    Atletico Madrid
    Nat'l Team:
    Belgium
    Karius responsible for 2 goals in CL final. Great taste Klopp!
     
  4. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Portugal v. Tunisia (tomorrow 8:45 pm) ... Tunisia will also play Turkey (1/6) and Spain (9/6)

    Panama v. N. Ireland (30/5) ... Panama will also play Norway (6/6)

    England v. Nigeria (2/6) ... England will also play Costa Rica (7/6)

    Belgium's schedule:

    - 2/6 v. Portugal
    - 6/6 v. Egypt
    - 11/6 v. Costa Rica
    - 13/6 move to Moscow training camp
     
  5. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Ondermaats
    Better see improvement in the next few games.
     
  6. Gorando

    Gorando Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Belgium
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Belgium
    Playing 3 at the back seems pointless now without Kompany and Vermaelen. God forbid you have to play games with Boyata or Ciman. With Vince and Thomas out it would make more sense to play 4-3-3 with a midfield of Kevin,Witsel & Radja :(

    I think the game also showed why Witsel always plays. Dembele nor anyone else in the squad knows how to protect a defense. Especially with a 2 man midfield it is crucial to have some balance in it.
     
  7. ra_sriniketan

    ra_sriniketan Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Same thing happened in euro. Players like Ciman, Boyata, J Lukaku are not of international standard. If we have to play any one of them in the back line we are gone. Wasn't there anyone else like from the under 21 team?
     
  8. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Tomorrow, 10am CET, Martinez will make the final 23 man squad public.

    Vermaelen says he'll be fit in time but we won't know if Kompany can say the same. According to our players they have been pushed hard in training (TBF in the past the first part of training camp has also focused on the physical aspect +/- recuperation). Going all out in friendlies isn't very wise yet compared to other teams we didn't look as fresh, we gave a sloppy, sub-par account of ourselves (can't tell how much these teams have been put through the wringer). I'm even happier now to start against Panama and we probably will need such a game to find our feet in Russia (+ the importance of starting with a win). England seem well-prepared to run anybody ragged. Hopefully our final group game won't turn into a high intensity affair, like PL games, and instead we can take a breather (I'd like to be through to the KO phase by then).

    Denayer and Engels are further down the pecking order than Kabasele, Boyata, etc. Kabasele had a good season but Martinez seems to be looking for another profile, wanting defenders that are comfortable with acres of space behind them and that can play out from the back. IMO, Ciman shouldn't be anywhere near the squad and instead of Ciman +/- Boyata I'd go with Kabasele +/- Denayer. Seeing our centre backs aren't the fastest we could use someone like Denayer, who ended the season well with Gala (Turkish Champions). He'd be our fastest centre back and could prove to be a useful option to have in our squad.
     
  9. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    A bit late to abandon the 3-4-2-1 (and 3-5-2) but Martinez, Mr. tactical flexibility, claims the team will be ready to play several formations. Granted 4-3-3 is a sensible formation but do you feel there's enough time ahead of Russia to get it right (and as we're forced to use CBs at FB or as cover there we can't bring less of them anyway; same difference)? Are we guaranteed to be more solid defensively with a back 4? In the past our weaknesses out wide have been exploited again and again. When we went with a back 4 not only did it look inevitable that we'd concede goals but we were also toothless going forward. Vertonghen puking his guts out at leftback isn't a pretty sight and like always he'll be targeted by our opponents (it isn't a secret how vulnerable we are on the left). I'd rather see our CBs play in their natural positions while J.Lukaku and Meunier are simply better suited to the wingback positions than forcing them to play as fullbacks. Meunier is one of the players that has benefitted the most from playing in a 3-4-2-1.

    3-4-2-1 has the disadvantage of being vulnerable out wide, which we'll always be anyway incl. with a back four, but our attack has a much bigger sting. Carrasco hasn't quite figured out how to peg back his man and Vertonghen/Carrasco's understanding needs work (less of an issue on the right but still Meunier can also do better in defence). In the next weeks this has to be ironed out. Still, the benefit of having 3 centre backs (in their natural positions), instead of 2, and Witsel helping out the wingbacks in defence should limit risk. Hazard and Mertens have less defensive responsabilities and can contribute more to our attack (with a back four OTOH Hazard not helping out Vertonghen or J.Lukaku at fullback = hanging a sword above our heads). I wouldn't be surpised if Martinez starts harder games in his 3-5-2, which he used in friendlies, with an extra midfielder closing down space that can be exploited when we don't have the ball.
     
  10. ra_sriniketan

    ra_sriniketan Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    what about martens used as a center forward like in serie a? looks dangerous with his speed and skills.
     
  11. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    It's a flexible system for our attack-minded players. Not unlike at Napoli, with Belgium Mertens can move into more central positions with Lukaku moving wide (also showed at Man United he can chip in with a few assists/crosses or cut inside from the right flank to get a shot off with his stronger left foot) ... or Mertens can join Lukaku up front (Hazard drops into the 10 role) ... or Mertens can drop into midfield with Hazard joining Lukaku, i.e. there's always 3-4-1-2. Napoli's attack is very fluid and even though it would be pretty much impossible to copy it completely the way Mertens is used for country isn't all that dissimilar to how he plays for club (dropping into midfield, moving wide, interchanging positions, looking for combinations or through balls, going up top to finish chances, ...).
     
  12. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  13. Gorando

    Gorando Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Belgium
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Belgium
    Pretty good squad. Of course Nainggolan is missing, other than that its very good. Perhaps I would have taken Kabasele over Boyata.
     
  14. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  15. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  16. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Asked to see improvement ... got it. Would have liked to see Boyata start (I still prefer Kabasele or Denayer though) ... it's a bit odd to start Ciman, who's only on stand-by and it sounds like Kompany could even return ahead of our opener. Egypt came for a scalp, immediately started with a few nasty challenges but for a side that concedes very few goals they suffered their biggest defeat in a long time. Friendlies tend to peter out and this one was no exception. Not that bothered about the results in these friendlies. I'd rather avoid another injury. Still in the opener against Panama I expect the game to get very physical ... never shying away from hard tackles and 50-50 balls ... could look a lot like that France v. Honduras brawl ... and likewise Panama shouldn't present too much of a problem, nothing our players can't handle.
     
  17. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

    Club Brugge
    Belgium
    Aug 19, 2002
    Belgium
    Club:
    Club Brugge KV
    Does anyone else think we are heading for another disaster? I think we will be lucky just to repeat our performance from 2014 and 2016, namely make it to the quarter-finals. This team looks really tired and there is still no semblance of a system in place. Hazard and maybe KDB if he gets out of his mini-funk will be able to carry us in some games, but that won't be enough once we meet a good team, whether they are one of the true favorites or just an outsider.
     
  18. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    TL;DR don't really mind the pre-season vibe and showing continued progress, including in the tournament proper, isn't exactly unheard of.

    It's in Russia where we need to build up a head of steam and thanks to our schedule we have time to do so. When it matters, in contrast to the friendlies, I'm expecting to see a lot more movement, creating space and much more passing options, playing at a far higher tempo, ... for any system to work you can't be strolling around the pitch. Also, fewer sloppy crosses please (cutting the ball back creates better chances anyway and we scored two goals against Egypt that way). Vandenbempt confirmed that players are being pushed hard in training and he expects that player freshness/energy won't be an issue (again, in the past the first part of training camp has also focused on the physical aspect +/- recuperation).

    PS good read: Michael Cox, editor of Zonal Marking, on our group.
     
  19. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  20. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  21. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  22. ra_sriniketan

    ra_sriniketan Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    1st half......what is going on!!! can someone explain? I am stunned.
     
  23. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Tempo was very low, many were just strolling and our players can't have wasted too much energy (granted it was hot and humid). Passing needs to improve in the next game as well. Now that they've had time to find their feet I'm confident the team will grow in the next games.

    Also, what's better than Vertonghen scoulding Carrasco after the fact ... Vertonghen using his experience to coach Carrasco and tell him to stay with his man before it's too late. Kompany is in your ear all game long. I watched him in a CL game when fans were banned from attending and you could hear the players very well. Kompany was barking orders non-stop for 90'. Hope to see Vermaelen in the next game and Kompany in the final group game.
     
  24. ra_sriniketan

    ra_sriniketan Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    carrasco and witsel are not of international standard anymore. Can't imagine boyata vs harry kane/ronaldo/aguero etc. Also to me this team is not motivated enough to throw their bodies on line it seems. Look at Iceland for example. Can't beat a team like brazil/argentina/spain/germany. Quarter final max if lucky. The team of 86 was of different level totally. Golden generation!!! wheres the gold?
     

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