Belgium is the most underwhelming team at the Euros.
On paper, they’re one of the most talented teams in the tournament.
However, their 2-0 loss to Italy in their first game of Euro 2016 proved that they’re just a group of good players; not a team. A handful of disjointed superstars isn’t conducive to success.
Belgium didn’t appear to have a plan going into the Italy game. They looked lost in possession and rarely threatened Italy’s vaunted defense or ancient keeper.
Instead of attacking, they cautiously tried to outlast Italy, masters of the siege. You can’t beat the Italians at their own game.
Italy took a 1-0 lead when 4’5″ Emanuele Giaccherini scooted in between Belgium’s sleeping center-backs to finish a long ball played from midfield.
After going down a goal, Belgium didn’t adjust its (lack of) game plan. They continued to try to force the ball down the left flank through Hazard, reducing the game to an exercise in futility.
Italy allowed Belgium to linger around until Graziano Pellè put them out of their misery with a thunderous volley that found the back of the net, giving Italy a 2-0 lead at the end of the game.
There’s no “I” in team and no one on Belgium is good enough to put the team on their back, though they do have an embarrassment of attacking riches.
Their attacking four; Lukaku, Hazard, Fellani, and De Bruyne have a transfer value of a quarter billion dollars.
Unfortunately, these absurdly high valuations don’t seem to transfer to on-field leadership. With captain Vincent Kompany sidelined with a thigh injury, Belgium is sorely lacking a field general.
$267 million doesn’t get you what it used to…
Unless a leader emerges from within the Belgian side, it’s hard to see them getting out of their group.
And it doesn’t look like that leadership is going to come from coach Marc Wilmonts.
When your team has that much talent and fails to perform, you can blame the players all you want, but the buck has to stop with the coach.
Belgian fan “Gordondel” didn’t mince words when he said he wanted to see Wilmonts gone.
I’m secretly hoping we get kicked out asap so we can get a decent manager for the World Cup
Gordondel, Belgian fan
Fellow Belgian “Watoskyv” couldn’t even wait that long.
I’m secretly hoping for a player uprising, so we can get an interim [coach] to do the rest of the tournament.
Watoskyv, Belgian fan
If Belgium stays the course, it’ll be a mighty quick tournament for one of the most talented sides in Europe.
Will Belgium make it out of their group?