Tuesday, June 3, 2014

They call it football because you play it with your feet.

Photo stolen from demorgen.be.

So the Belgian national football team is playing in the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro in a couple of weeks, and, being the supportive guy I am, I've decided to support them. I want to get in on this collective dopamine trip so many people are about to begin, so I'm slipping on my Belgium-colored bowtie and getting ready to watch some serious football for the first time since... Well, since the last World Cup.

Of course, cheering for the team won't be as exciting with my current (abysmal) knowledge of the players and the team's history. So I'm going to do some reading up, and you'll be able to track my progress on the blog over the course of the next couple of weeks.

Coming up: the history of the Belgian Red Devils! Bios of Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard! Those other guys whose names I will soon know!


  1. "getting ready to watch some serious football for the first time since..."

    So when did you last see Rosenborg play? ;)

    Basically, the Belgian players I would say are most crucial would be Vincent Kompany, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois (early twenties only, and already one of the best goalkeepers in the world), maybe Fellaini and Vertonghen too if they are up for it (they got the qualities but aren't Always at their best).

    The big question marks will be Divock Origi (if he gets any playing minutes, that is), the other striker next to Lukaku (I think Dries Mertens would be good in this role but there are other options too) and whether Januzaj (who could choose between 6 national teams but eventually opted for Belgium -- but has not played for the team yet since he only made his choice last month) will get lot of playing minutes or not. I guess he will surely get some time on the field, even if only to assure he cannot change his mind about which country to play for anymore (once you've played a competitive game you can't swap countries anymore ... although his case could be exceptional the day Kosovo would gain UEFA or FIFA membership)

    I will look out for the Belgians (my favourite teams didn't qualify and as a fan of the Israëli national team, I can do some spying since Israel and Belgium face each other in the Euro 2016 qualifiers) but also look forward to the big debut of Bosnia Herzegowina (they may be the surprise of the tournament, they're unexperienced but having a fantastic team that scores easily) and the return of Iran. Not sure why, either because they are the only team near the Middle East that qualified, or because I the nicest girl I've dated in recent years was Iranian... Anyway, not sure why, but I'll look forward to their performances too.

    Lived in Spain for 3 years, including the year when they lifted the world cup. But I don't think they will win a 4th in a row trophy. Some key players are beyond their best years (eg Casillas, Torres) or have retired (eg Puyol). They still got Xavi and Iniesta, and Sergio Ramos is playing excellent lately, but I fear the weight of the Spanish team will rest on a few players' shoulders and that is never a good situation.

    I think favourites to win this tournament are Brazil (they're on home soil, and unlike with Barcelona, Neymar does perform very well in the Brazilian shirt), Argentina (there is Always Messi, and they also have Aguero and Di Maria in excellent form + will be very motivated to grab the Cup right on the soil of the big rivals), and Germany (there is Mesut Özil who is world class, Khedira seems to be fit right on time, they got some excellent strikers and probably the best goalie worldwide, Neuer)

    Outsiders: Uruguay (Muslera, Forlan, Suarez at the best he's ever been, Cavani, ...)

    No potential world cup winners, but definitely will be positive surprises: Japan, Bosnia Herzegowina, Colombia, maybe also Belgium?

    Negative surprises: Netherlands (many players are inexperienced and the more experienced ones are beyond their peak, which means the weight of the team will be carried by a few players only: Robben, Van Persie, maybe Snijder); England (Always creating too high expectations while only Rooney is really at a level good enough to perform well at the World Cup), France (unless Ribery gets one last shot in good form)

    Question marks: Switzerland, Nigeria, USA, Mexico (in all honesty wouldn''t dare to guess how strong they really are...)

    1. Hehe, good point - I did watch TIL - Rosenborg in the summer of 2012. It ended in a draw, which is a heck of a lot better than the miserable 2-3 home defeat against Bryne (one of the bottom teams in the league in which TIL is currently battling for the top spot) that I witnessed last week during my vacation up north.

      Anyway, thanks for the tips! :)