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English Premier League stars have littered the Belgium squad for Euro 2016.
This summer’s European conquest will have a 23-man roster made up of 12 EPL stars. Marc Wilmots has developed one of the best squads in international football, and with the Belgians still pretty young, many believe they can be successful internationally for the next decade or so. However, could their time be here already? They’re a heavy favourite with many bookmakers to win it all, and if they keep a clean bill of health, who can stop their talented squad that includes Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku? That’s right, they have world-class, young stars that can lead them to glory this summer.
With Courtois they have, arguably, the best goalkeeper in the world. Protecting him is Toby Alberweireld and Jan Vertonghen who have been sensational for Tottenham in the EPL.
The Belgium squad has some of the best, most consistent domestic stars.
Many believed with captain Vincent Kompany being ruled out, they’d struggle for confidence, and leadership. However, Wilmots insisted "Vincent Kompany's absence is sad for him and for the team. He's a leader. He will not be part of the staff. In Vincent Kompany's absence, Hazard will be our captain,”.
Hazard had a disappointing season, but when in form, he’s truly unstoppable. He started to hit form just in time, and that should help him, and Belgium. With many teams targeting star man, De Bruyne, of Man City, it should leave room for Hazard to shine.
With these creative playmakers, the likes of Lukaku and Divock Origi should find their pace very useful. Looking to attack every loose ball. Both are clinical in front of goal, and if they play to their condiment best, as they did in the EPL, Belgium will be a tough team to stop.
From the back, to the front, to the bench, they have a perfect blend of pace, power, goals, solidity, experience and youth. These qualities will come in handy eventually, whether this tournament or the next.
Wilmots doesn’t believe they’re contenders despite recent speculation, especially if they face further injuries. The manager explained "Just because people are crazy it does not mean I am as well,. There are teams like Spain, Germany and France that have a lot of quality. We are among the outsiders like Italy and Portugal.”
However, he did admit if things fall in to place, it could happen. He added "We are all more relaxed. If we can avoid injuries we can reach the semi-finals and once you are there who knows what can happen,.”
It’s going to be a tough tournament, but on paper, the Belgium squad is as good as they come, largely from their abundance of attacking EPL superstars.
Why can’t they win it all? Don’t believe us? Take a look at this star-studded squad:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Jean-François Gillet.
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Jason Denayer, Björn Engels, Nicolas Lombaerts, Jordan Lukaku, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen.
Midfielders: Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Radja Nainggolan, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Dries Mertens.
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Divock Origi, Romelu Lukaku.
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