World Cup 2022 team guides part 21: Belgium

This article is part of the Guardian’s World Cup 2022 Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 32 countries who qualified. is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 20 November.

The plan

The plan isn’t much of a plan any more, more a case of “it is what it is”. Roberto Martínez is simply sticking to the same tactical shape he introduced six years ago: the 3-4-3. The personnel has changed, though. Vincent Kompany has gone. Thomas Vermaelen too, with the former Arsenal defender now one of the assistant managers. Instead, when Belgium played Wales and the Netherlands in the Nations League in September, the back three featured three players from the Belgian Jupiler Pro League.

Toby Alderweireld (Antwerp) and Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht) have recently come back home after playing in Qatar and Benfica respectively, while the promising Anderlecht teenager Zeno Debast…

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This article was written by Kristof Terreur and originally published on