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Soccer World Cup

5 Reasons Why Belgium Will Lose In The Round Of 16 At 2014 World Cup

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2014 World Cup: 5 Reasons Why Belgium Will Lose In The Round Of 16

Belgium National Team World Cup
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For the last several months, Belgium has been the sexy pick to make a deep run at the 2014 World Cup. Some of the players have started to deal with adversity but the hopes remain the same. Since October, Belgium is just 1-2-2. Two players that helped Belgium get to the final four in 1986, Franky Van der Elst and Nico Claesen, have their doubts about the current squad. The group is an easy one, but the knockout stage will bring heavy competition.

5. Striker Corps is Weakened

Christian Benteke
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5. Striker Corps is Weakened

Christian Benteke
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Christian Benteke was on his way to be the starting striker for Belgium until he suffered a serious Achilles injury. Benteke is out of the World Cup and the pressure will now fall to Romelu Lukaku. Van Der Elst believes this Belgium team did not show enough ability to score in the qualifying run. Center-back Daniel Van Buyten leads this current squad in goals. Kevin Mirallas may be next in line at striker behind Lukaku.

4. LB/RB are Playing Out of Position

Jan Vertonghen
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4. LB/RB are Playing Out of Position

Jan Vertonghen
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The names in the back line for Belgium are known quantities, but they are not playing in their natural positions. This squad is extremely deep at center-back but very thin on the outside. Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have been playing the edges lately, but they generally play centrally for their club teams. Good opposition in the World Cup will create game plans to exploit this.

3. Key Players are on the Bench for Club Teams

Kevin De Bruyne
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3. Key Players are on the Bench for Club Teams

Kevin De Bruyne
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Alderweireld is one of the many players who figure into Belgium's plans in Brazil not getting playing time with their current teams. Kevin De Bruyne was not playing for Chelsea, so he went out on loan to the Bundesliga. That is a good plan and will make him more ready for training, but he has played 15 matches for Wolfsburg with only one goal. Thomas Vermaelen has only played 13 matches in the Premier League.

2. Vincent Kompany Looks Like He's Lost a Step

Vincent Kompany
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2. Vincent Kompany Looks Like He's Lost a Step

Vincent Kompany
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Vincent Kompany has not looked right in the last month. Maybe he has never recovered from his early-season injury. His inability to clear without any pressure against Liverpool cost his team points. He was cleared to play but had a part in all three of Liverpool's goals against Manchester City. Kompany has committed 37 fouls in 38 matches this season. Belgium must hope that he can overcome what nags him.

1. The World Cup is New Territory for This Squad

World Cup Experience Belgium
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1. The World Cup is New Territory for This Squad

World Cup Experience Belgium
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The last time Belgium was in the World Cup was 2002, where they finished 14th. That finish is about what to expect this year given the concerns they have and the intimidating nature of the World Cup. Coach Marc Wilmots played in three World Cups for Belgium and will have to do his best to prepare his players. Belgium should continue to improve and expect to qualify for years to come.