The attention of the world will be turning to Russia this summer, as the 2018 World Cup takes place. Players from every nation will be looking to make themselves heroes over the course of the next month, including Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne.
De Bruyne has linked up with his Belgium teammates and headed to Russia, with big things expected from Roberto Martinez’s ‘Golden Generation’ who seemingly have the world at their feet.
De Bruyne will be Belgium’s talisman from midfield, entering the World Cup on the back of a sensational Premier League campaign. Pep Guardiola has transformed the 26-year-old into one of the Premier League’s most exciting players to watch, with De Bruyne improving massively under the Spaniard’s guidance.
The last year has been an exceptional one for the playmaker, with the midfielder making 37 Premier League appearances for City, scoring eight goals and assisting a further 16, playing a crucial role as Guardiola strolled to his first English league title.
Kevin De Bruyne’s 7 goals and 14 assists so far this season! 🔥⚽
Outstanding footballer! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/82XiCxxi1Q
— The Sheikh of Manchester 💰 (@TheSheikhMCFC) March 26, 2018
De Bruyne was at the heart of City’s success and, now, he has the chance to show his quality on the world stage in Russia. City strolled to the Premier League title, but Belgium aren’t expected to do the same at the World Cup, even with De Bruyne in their ranks.
For Belgium to be world cup winner, Paddy Power are offering odds of 17/2 at an early stage of the tournament, with the likes of Brazil, Spain, France and Germany all backed to have a better chance than Martinez’s side.
Of course, Belgium’s hopes will not all rest on the shoulders of De Bruyne, who will be supported by some very able teammates. There have been a lot of comparisons made between Belgium’s 2018 World Cup squad and England’s own ‘Golden Generation’ who failed to win a tournament between 2004 and 2010, despite hosting some of the Premier League’s best talent.
De Bruyne’s Man City teammate and captain, Vincent Kompany, will be alongside him in Belgium’s 23 man squad. Chelsea duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard will be expected to feature, as well as Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, who have formed one of the Premier League’s most effective defensive partnerships at Tottenham.
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) May 21, 2018
A side that will be spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku should do well, with so many British-based players alongside De Bruyne. However, comparisons have already been made between their crop of players and England’s failures, which is something they have to address this tournament. That’s not to say they have to win it, but they have to be competitive and reach the later stage of the competition.
With De Bruyne on board, that’s a possibility. The midfielder will turn 27 during the middle of the competition and is undoubtedly in his peak, entering the competition on the back of a fine individual year.
His form in the Premier League has made him one of the best playmakers in the world but now is his chance to prove himself on the world stage. There is no doubt that Belgium’s chance of success will depend on De Bruyne carrying his fine club form into the competition.