Red Devils Rising - Past & Future Squads

Discussion in 'Belgium' started by Blondo, Sep 23, 2013.


Red Devils are ...

Poll closed Sep 23, 2014.
  1. Rising

    8 vote(s)
  2. Falling

    2 vote(s)
  1. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    U21s ... Belgium and Sweden win their games an both are on 20 points. Belgium faces Hungary next, on the 11th, and the final game in Sweden will decide who wins the group. If needed the ranking of the best runners-up. Hungary were (basically) eliminated moments ago, mathematically there's still a... Belgium can finish them off. Sweden play Turkey next.
  2. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    BELGIUM ... the most attacking team in the world!!!


    At the start of 2014 Belgium had a negative all-time GD. Since then, up to the Sep. 2018 friendly, Belgium improved their GD to +100.

    1. Belgium ..... 152 goals in only 60 games or 2.53 goals/game
    2. Spain .......... 121 ..................... 55 ................ 2.20
    3. Germany ..... 142 ..................... 66 ............... 2.15
    4. Brazil ........... 129 ..................... 63 ............... 2.05
    5. France ......... 137 ..................... 67 ............... 2.04
    6. Portugal ...... 122 ..................... 64 ............... 1.91
    7. Argentina .... 118 ..................... 63 ............... 1.87
    8. Croatia ........ 104 ..................... 57 ............... 1.82
    9. England ....... 100 ..................... 59 ............... 1.69
    10. Mexico ...... 136 ..................... 90 ............... 1.51

    Bobby has been in charge for 28 of those games, the more attractive ones with harder opposition. 84 goals were scored or exactly 3 goals per game, up from 2.13 which is Wilmots's ratio in the remaining 32 games (68 goals). In case the friendlies against Luxembourg and Czech Rep. are excluded (both games weren't officially recognised by FIFA but the Belgian FA counts them) ... then it's 82 in 27 games or a slightly better ratio for Bobby (3.04) while it's 63 in 31 games or a reduced ratio for Wilmots (2.03). Bobby improved Wilmots's goals per game ratio by a further 50%, even when Belgium were already rubbing shoulders with the best, and Bobby's 3.04 goals per game puts Belgium well ahead of the "competition" from around the world. This really should be on top of the ranking:

    Hors Catégorie. Bobby's Belgium ... 82 goals in only 27 games or 3.04 goals/game

    Also, Bobby's Belgium not only has the world's best attack, he plugged the holes in defence as well, needing to be quite creative in big games. With 22 goals against in 27 games or conceding 0.81 goals per game he did better than his predecessor. Wilmots had a solidity fetish. Despite failing to get the most out of our attack, mainly due to the lack of a plan, he still conceded 27 goals in 31 games or 0.87 goals per game. Especially in the important games we were toothless going forward while it was basically inevitable we'd leak goals in the back. Worst of both worlds, really. The only game when Wilmots didn't receive criticism was the friendly against France in Paris. Yet a few days later he lost an important qualifier against Wales amidst controversy, he reportedly was about to leave Belgium for Schalke, and thus Wilmots ended up getting criticized in every single international break.

    Under Wilmots Fellaini was Belgium's top scorer :confused: ... in the last two years, since Bobby took over, that changed ... most likely Fellaini will soon drop a few more places (Batsman scored 8 goals as a sub and TBH should have bagged a few more in Russia).

    Top scorers

    1. Lukaku ...... 36 goals since 2014
    2. Hazard ...... 21
    3. Mertens .... 13
    4. KDB ........... 11
    5. Fellaini ...... 11
    6. Batsman ... 10

    - Belgium's all-time top scorers
  3. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Statistically speaking, Bobby is Belgium's best manager ever.

    Up to the 3rd place win v. England, the Russia2018 campaign:

    26 games (includes 9 friendlies, 10 WCQs and 7 in Russia) ... 19 Ws / 5 Ds / 2 Ls
    2.385 points per game (1.8 in friendlies, 2.8 in WCQs and 2.6 at the World Cup)
    78 goals for and 22 against ... scoring 3 and conceding 0.85 goals per game

    During Bobby's reign Belgium equalled the record for their:

    - largest win (9-0 in 2017)
    - largest away win (6-0 in 2016)
    - largest win at the World Cup (5-2 and 3-0 in 2018)
    - most consecutive wins (7 wins in 2018)
    + Belgium share the record for most goals scored during the qualis with Germany, either ECQs or WCQs (43 goals in 2016-2017)

    What's more, Belgium broke the record for their:

    - longest unbeaten run (unbeaten in 24 games in 2016-2018)
    - most wins at the World Cup (6 wins in 2018)
    - most goals scored in a single game at the World Cup (5 goals v. Tunisia in 2018)
    - most goals scored at the World Cup (16 goals in 2018)
    + Benteke broke the record for the fastest goal in a World Cup match, either qualifying or the finals (8.1 seconds)

    Under Bobby Belgium reached an all-time high third place in the Elo ratings after the Ro16 win against Japan, equalled their best ever FIFA ranking = No.1, set a new record in qualification, either ECQs or WCQs (2.8 points per game and a record amount of goals) and of course achieved their best result at the World Cup (Bronze in 2018, unless you count winning the Gold in 1920, like the Uruguayans do).
  4. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Up to the NL opener v. Iceland, the running total:

    28 games (includes 10 friendlies, 10 WCQs + 7 in Russia and 1 NL game) ... 21 Ws / 5 Ds / 2 Ls
    2.429 points per game (1.9 in friendlies, 3 in the NL, 2.8 in WCQs and 2.6 at the World Cup)
    85 GF and 22 GA ... scoring 3.04 and conceding 0.79 goals per game

    Statistically speaking, Bobby is still Belgium's best manager ever. He's also setting all kinds of NL records but yeah. Belgium's current Elo rating, 2078, is another all-time high though and on FIFA's ranking Belgium (1729.26) have broken the record for most points again :ninja:
  5. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Lukaku didn't get along with Wilmots. Not exactly a secret.
    Wilmots didn't think he needed to lend his strikers a hand. Bobby did. It shows.

    Lukaku under Wilmots* ............ 12 goals ... 1 assist ..... 49 games (called up for 44, played in 35) ... well over 2000' or roughly a goal every 180'
    Lukaku under Bobby/Henry** ... 26 goals ... 5 assists ... 28 games (played in 26) ... 1700' or a goal every 65' (directly contributing in almost every half of a match)

    Shockingly, Lukaku only played the full 90' on 3 occasions under Wilmots, 2 of which were meaningless friendlies, and that despite 44 call-ups. No plan, no support, confidence murdered. When he scored a brace against Croatia to seal qualification for Belgium's first time back at a major tournament, Brazil2014, he did get love. A shame it didn't happen more often. OTOH Bobby & Henry's trust and help is being rewarded handsomely by Lukaku's contributions (yet again, his goals secured a World Cup berth for Belgium).

    *3 goals in the unofficial games v. LUX and ROU (15 in 51 games under Wilmots if those are counted)
    **1 assist in the unofficial game v. CZE (brings it up to 6 assists under Bobby/Henry)

    Lukaku also had 2 goals and 2 assists before Wilmots was handed the job. His tally for country after the brace in the NL opener:

    43 goals, 9 assists, every 87' ... Belgium's all-time top scorer ... aged 25.
  6. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  7. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Together with the "Golden Glove" award Courtois has now also won FIFA's "The Best Goalkeeper".

  8. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Van Puyvelde, TD, is off to China ... using the Red Devils to get a big payday ... came across as a bit useless (and now Bobby will do his job).

  9. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    A win or a draw against Sweden is enough to qualify for EURO2019 U21 (the EC also serves as qualifying for the Olympics).

  10. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  11. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    It was great to have Henry with us and his successor has a big void to fill. Both Henry and Bobby have received plenty of positive attention since joining Belgium. They did a very good job managing Belgium's best after all. Especially Bobby needed a boost to his reputation and I hope it was a formative experience for Henry. As promised in the past, I'd love it if the KBVB starts promoting/helps launch the career of upcoming/promising Belgian managers now. Safeguarding continuity should also be on the mind of the bobos (Spain are lightyears ahead in this respect, unless anarchy is the Belgian identity).

    Apropos, Lukaku under Bobby/Henry ... 28 goals and 5 assists ... 1790' in 27 apps ... or a goal every 64' (directly contributing in almost every half of a match).

    *incl. the game v. CZE (that most sources count except FIFA) it's 28 goals and 6 assists in a little over 1800' under Bobby/Henry.

  12. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
  13. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Breakdown of players by age (on 31/12/2018)

    Names in bold were part of the Russia2018 squad, the ones in red are over 30 and the ones in green are under 25.

    Mignolet - 30
    Courtois - 26
    Casteels - 26

    Sels - 26
    Jackers - 21
    De Wolf - 21
    Svilar - 19

    Looks great for NL2019, EC2020 and NL2021. Even at the start of the 2022 (winter) World Cup Migs wouldn't be too old while Courtois should still be in his prime.

    Ciman - 33
    Vermaelen - 33
    Kompany - 32

    Vertonghen - 31
    Alderweireld - 29
    Boyata - 28

    Kabasele - 27
    Mechele - 25
    Engels - 24
    Denayer - 23
    Faes - 20
    Vanheusden - 19
    Bornauw - 19
    Bushiri - 19

    The backline is the biggest issue. Among those on the wrong side of 30, Vertonghen could still be serviceable/add experience in Qatar (yet Alderweireld would be 33yo as well; hey-ho Van Buyten was 36yo and our best defender in Brazil). Bedding in younger, faster defenders to replenish the ageing defence is essential. No more Ciman but rather give chances to Kabasele, Denayer, Engels, ... who'll be in their prime during Qatar.

    Meunier - 27
    Foket - 24
    Castagne - 23
    Cools - 22
    Saelemaekers - 19

    J.Lukaku - 24
    Bolingoli - 23
    Cobbaut - 21
    Miangue - 21
    De Norre - 21

    New solutions to the eternal fullback dilemma, who knows there might be another Meunier in the bunch. Saelemaekers, let's hope so. On the left, let's hope even harder that one comes good.

    Dembele - 31
    Fellaini - 31

    Nainggolan - 30*
    Witsel - 29
    De Bruyne - 27

    Vanaken - 26
    Praet - 24
    B.Verstraete - 24
    Dendoncker - 23
    Pereira - 22*
    Bastien - 22
    Omeonga - 22
    A.De Sart - 22
    Vanlerberghe - 22
    Musonda Jr. - 22
    Tielemans - 21
    Heynen - 21
    Mangala - 20
    Rigo - 20
    Antonucci - 19
    Emmers - 19

    Chadli - 29
    Carrasco - 25

    A. Limbombe - 24
    Amuzu - 19

    A few top quality players on the way out, with Radja already retired, but some of Belgium's most promising talents should get a look in sooner or later. Tielemans already is very experienced, about time for more to follow his lead.

    Mertens - 31
    Mirallas - 31

    Depoitre - 30
    Benteke - 28
    Hazard - 27
    T.Hazard - 25
    Lukaku - 25
    Batshuayi - 25

    Trossard - 24
    Januzaj - 23
    Origi - 23
    Bakkali - 22
    Mbenza - 22
    Dimata - 21
    Leya Iseka - 21
    Lukebakio - 21
    Azzaoui - 20
    Vanzeir - 20
    Bongiovanni - 19
    Verlinden - 19
    I.Boonen - 19

    Up front there's plenty of firepower. Mertens will be hard to replace but luckily the attack can remain largely unchanged. Competition for places to keep the hunger, to push each other, ... wouldn't mind having a supersub either.

    More than half of the squads in Russia had a higher average age than Belgium's and a complete overhaul isn't in order. In the lists above there's plenty of green already but have some more, even greener options:

    J.De Bie - (GK - 18)
    Delanghe (GK - 17)
    Vandevoordt (GK - 16)
    Van Den Eynden (CB - 18)
    Gillekens (CB - 18)
    Makoun (CB - 18)*
    Sardella (CB - 16)
    Ndenbe (LB - 18)
    Lutonda (LB - 18)
    Baiye (DM - 18)
    Onana (DM - 17)
    Asoma (DM - 16)
    Masangu (CM - 18)
    Raskin (CM - 17)
    Sierra (CM - 17)
    Timassi (CM - 17)
    Matazo (CM - 16)
    Anaxis (AM - 17)
    Patoulidis (AM - 17)
    Verschaeren (AM - 17)
    Stroeykens (AM - 14)
    Tomaselli (AM - 14)
    Bounida (AM - 12)
    Sidibe (RW - 17)
    Persyn (RW - 16)
    Albanese (LW - 18)
    Mpie (LW - 17)
    Ramazani (LW - 17)
    Doku (LW - 16)
    Openda (CF - 18)
    Vertessen (CF - 17)

    *eligible yet unlikely to play for Belgium any longer
  14. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Under 17

    The U17s have qualified for the elite round and earned top seed status doing so (draw on 6 Dec.). EC2019 also doubles up as qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup. Keep an eye on: Persyn (Inter), Matazo (Monaco)?, Asoma (Brugge), Sardella (Anderlecht) and especially Doku (Anderlecht).

    Between 1985 and 2015 our U17s only reached the World Cup once, in 2007 with Hazard and Benteke, who didn't advance to the KO phase. The EURO results between 1982 and 2015 have been a bit better (9 apps: 5 GS exits, 3 QFs and 1 SF). Currently the U17s are on the up. Recent teams, since 2015, have managed to reach the quarters (EC2016), the semis twice (EC2015 & 2018) and a 3rd place at the 2015 World Cup in Chile.

    Under 19

    The U19s were drawn into a tough group, with France and Spain, and didn't qualify for EC2018/WC2019. On 14 Nov. the qualis for EC2019 start. Keep an eye on: J.De Bie (Spurs), Masangu (Roma), Lutonda (Anderlecht), Ndenbe (KVO) and, despite missing an absolute sitter in the dying minutes to win the CL game against Monaco, Openda (Brugge).

    Over the last dozen years the U19s have only qualified for the one tournament, i.e. EC2011 with T.Hazard and Casteels, who didn't advance to the KO phase. About time the U19s got back in the saddle. In the past they did get results: Champions x1, Silver x1, Bronze x3 and another SF finish in 1996 (+ R16 at the 1997 World Cup).

    Under 21

    The U21s have qualified for EURO2019 in Italy (final draw on 23 Nov.). There they can also qualify for the Olympics, Tokyo2020. Reportedly, Musonda Jr. and Bakkali won't be back. Even though Tielemans is playing for the senior team, he was born in 1997 (even the ones born in 1996 are eligible). This generation has yet to live up to all the hype but TBF the expectations were very steep.

    It's only the 3rd time our U21s reached the EUROs. The semis in 2007 was the best result and this success was punctuated with another run to the semis in Beijing2008. Let's see how much damage the current crop can do in EURO2019 (and hopefully Tokyo2020).

    => seeding

    - top seeds: Italy (hosts), Germany and England
    - pot 2: Spain, Denmark and ???
    - pot 3: France, Serbia and Croatia
    - pot 4: Belgium, Austria/Greece and Romania

    In the play-offs Poland and Portugal face each other (on 16 and 20 Nov.). If Portugal go through they'll be added to pot 2. Poland winning the tie instead means Poland go in pot 4 while Belgium and France move up a pot.
  15. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Lukaku in the top 20 PL goal scorers of all time, level with Ian Wright ... not bad for a donkey ... especially with the poor service that Lukaku has received playing for WBA, Everton and Mourinho's Man United.
    Lukaku could move into the top 10 next season or the one after, pushing out Michael Owen. Definitely young enough to push on and overtake Thierry Henry for a top 5 spot and become the non-English player with the most goals ever in the league. If he stays in the PL until he retires he should even break Shearer's record.

  16. LouisianaViking07/09

    Aug 15, 2009
    That's a sure lot of If's
  17. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Fellaini retires. A big hand for the big guy.

    It looks to have happened more naturally, as opposed to Martinez's rift with Nainggolan or how Löw kicked out Müller, Boateng and Hummels only days ago. I guess Fellaini's retirement will give Dembele pause to think about his future as well. They're the two midfielders on the way out, winding down their careers in China, while Witsel, who's having his best season, and De Bruyne, currently injured, hold down the fort in our best XI. Luckily Dendoncker has made a case for himself at Wolves and Tielemans is showing his class. Although his earlier struggles were exaggerated you could say Tielemans has been unleashed since his move away from Monaco/Jardim/Mendes.

    Maybe Martinez should have another talk with Andreas Pereira. Already 23yo and hasn't been cap-tied. After Nainggolan, Defour and now Fellaini Belgium will have to say goodbye to a fourth midfielder, i.e. Dembele, and slowly but surely a fifth, i.e. Witsel, in the coming years. Witsel's experience and leadership could prove invaluable, even in Qatar where he hopefully can end his career as an international on a high. Before Witsel eventually bids farewell he can help integrate our young talents and he can stabilize our midfield, also in case we move back to a three-man midfield with Witsel in the holding role (Dendoncker, O.Mangala, et al. further down the pecking order). With the EUROs, Nations League and World Cup we need depth and young talents are guaranteed to get chances.
    LouisianaViking07/09 repped this.
  18. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013

    Another renovation and name change ... SMH ... in a few years the national stadium will be called the Goldy McGoldface stadium (it's worse actually, they want to call it the "golden generation arena").
  19. Frysk Bloed

    Frysk Bloed Member

    Sep 6, 2014
    Liverpool FC
    I'm curious as to what you guys think about Yari Verschaeren? He seems to be sparking a lot of interest, but is he really that good or just in a good place for his age?
  20. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    He's really good and it was about time Anderlecht trusted its own youth. Saelemaekers fell victim to Rutten's focus on defensive solidity, actually plenty of players had a difficult time this season, but Verschaeren is shining. He's only 17yo but Verschaeren is already edging closer to a debut as full international, together with Vanheusden and Lukebakio (Anderlecht should have trusted the latter more). If you don't speak Dutch, use google translate:

    Frysk Bloed repped this.
  21. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Under 17

    The U17s have qualified for EC2019 in Ireland which also doubles up as qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in Brazil. Belgium are in group A with hosts Ireland, Czech Rep. and Greece, a much softer group than the one they're linked with, as from group B either France, Sweden, England or Holland will be waiting in the quarters. The opening game, Czech Rep. v. Belgium, kicks off on 3 May. Also, the qualis for EC2020 begin on 9 October.

    Under 19

    The U19s got screwed in the game against France and as a result didn't go into the elite round as top seeds. They ended up in Italy's group, with the top seed also winning the group and qualifying for EC2019. Better luck is very much welcome in the qualis for EC2020/WC2021 starting on 13 November.

    Under 21

    In the EC2019 final draw the U21s were drawn into a tough group, here's the dedicated thread. And another tough group awaits, playing Germany for EC2021 qualification. The first double-header will take place in September, against Wales on the 6th and Bosnia on the 10th.
    Gorando repped this.
  22. Frysk Bloed

    Frysk Bloed Member

    Sep 6, 2014
    Liverpool FC
    Indeed...Vanheusden looks very interesting as does Verschaeren. Though to me the real gem coming through looks to be Jeremy Doku. Is there a better Belgian prospect out there? He looks very electric.
  23. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013
    Doku is a really exciting talent. I read that Liverpool were trying to sign him for a while now. He needs to play though, eased into the first team instead of playing youth games. A lot has been written about him and hopefully he'll justify all this praise. One of the top prospects but at 16yo he has plenty to prove. His time will come.

    @Gorando is an Anderlecht supporter, so closer to the source. I'm more interested in the future of Belgian talents for club and country, being a neutral in most cases the focus is usually on the NT though.

    Among the ones that are full internationals Tielemans is without a shadow of doubt the best youngster. Still only 21yo and I'd love it if he'd play in the U21 EUROs and help them qualify for the Olympics instead of the (soft) ECQ games in June. Probably he won't go and it already was a hard group. Vanheusden seems the closest to making the step to the senior team (in that sense he's the biggest prospect and he's also the most promising young defender). Currently Doku would be behind Lukebakio and Verschaeren. Persyn and Mpie are also two exciting prospects to look out for.
  24. Blondo

    Blondo Member+

    Sep 21, 2013

    Granted it's China, still Carrasco looks very motivated to return to Europe.

    Reportedly Dalian reneged on their promise to let him return to Europe. Seeing the window in China has closed when August began, there's not much left of the PL window, ... a move will only be harder to come by. Shame.

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