For the first time ever, Belgium will be Numero Uno in the FIFA World Rankings. This is the crowning moment for the best generation of footballers to come out of the nation.
In 2009, Belgium were ranked closer to 70, but that figure slowly started to improve as the new generation of footballers started flooding in. Many current Belgian players play in the biggest clubs in Europe and some of them have made high profile (and large money) moves. These include the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne.
Overall, if one were to look at the Belgian side, they are one of the most talented teams today, along with Germany, across all four areas of the pitch. Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet are amongst the game’s better keepers, with the latter touted to be the World’s best soon.
In the defence, they are led by Vincent Kompany who is one of the finest CBs in the world on his day. They also have the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Thomas Vermaelen (when he is fit). The midfield and front is where the Belgian’s biggest names are.
Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard both commanded massive transfer fees when arriving at the Premier League and have taken it into their stride. The midfield also includes likes of Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellaini, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli amongst others.
In the frontline, Belgium possesses two very physical strikers in Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke as well as the very pacy youngster, Divock Origi. They also have Kevin Mirallas, and Adnan Januzaj in their ranks.
With such a talented outfit, it was no surprise to see them break into the top 10 in 2013 and stay up there. The 2014 World cup saw them reach the Quarterfinals where they lost to runners-up, Argentina. They were classified 6th out of 32 teams in the World Cup.
They just secured their tickets to the Euro 2016, the first time since 2000 that Belgium are competing in the Euro Tournament. They topped their group with 7 wins, 2 draws and a single defeat. In FIFA’s ranking, Friendly matches have lesser weightage than competitive matches, and UEFA matches receive a higher difficulty factor. This coupled with Germany struggling in friendlies and in some parts of the Euro qualification, allowed Belgium to reach the pinnacle.
Credit goes to the manager of the national team, Marc Wilmots, who has successfully led the team since 2013. He has utilized the talented squad to the best and they have got their reward, they are the best national team in the World.
The team, if they maintain their excellent run of form, can enter Euro 2016 as World Number One.