Belgium World Cup 2022 guide: Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

Belgium World Cup 2022 squad

Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ may be finishing their careers as Roberto Martinez prepares to lead the team in what may be their final tournament. Despite being ranked as the second-best men’s team in the world by FIFA, behind only Brazil, there appears to be little hope that Belgium can go one game further and get their hands on the trophy after finishing third in Russia in 2018.

Many of the players on the team are past their peak today, with just Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne still actively contributing at a high level. Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard, and even Romelu Lukaku have all seen their primes pass, but they still constitute a sizeable portion of the team.

When do Belgium play in its group?

Belgium vs Canada (November 23, 19:00 GMT)
Belgium vs Morocco (November 27, 13:00 GMT)
Croatia vs Belgium (December 1, 15:00 GMT)

Belgium vs Canada H2H record: Played 1, Won 1
Belgium vs Morocco H2H record: Played 3, Won 2, Lost 1
Belgium vs Croatia H2H record: Played 8, Won 3, Drawn 2, Lost 3

Which 26 players will represent Belgium at the World Cup?


  • Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
  • Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge)
  • Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg)


  • Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht)
  • Toby Alderweireld (Royal Antwerp)
  • Wout Faes (Leicester City)
  • Arthur Theate (Stade Rennais)
  • Zeno Debast (Anderlecht)
  • Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund)
  • Timothy Castagne (Leicester City)


  • Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
  • Amadou Onana (Everton)
  • Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)
  • Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid)
  • Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge)
  • Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa)
  • Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid)
  • Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund)


  • Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
  • Charles De Ketelaere (AC Milan)
  • Leandro Trossard (Brighton & Hove Albion)
  • Dries Mertens (Galatasaray)
  • Jeremy Doku (Stade Rennais)
  • Romelu Lukaku (Inter)
  • Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce)
  • Lois Openda (RC Lens)

Which Belgian players will have to sit out the World Cup due to injury?

For Belgium, the health of Romelu Lukaku, who has played in just four games in Serie A this season, will be of paramount importance. A hamstring injury sidelined the striker for two months, but he returned to action on October 29 against Sampdoria before suffering a quad injury.

He is currently under the care of the doctors and is therefore unavailable at this time. Roberto Martinez recently informed L’Equipe that Romelu is a player we need if he is well enough to play in one of the first three matches.

Thomas Meunier, Dortmund’s right wingback, fractured his cheekbone in their victory over Hannover on October 19, but he will be fine to play in the competition. As a result of a knee injury, Alexis Saelemaekers, another contender for that spot, will not be able to participate in the competition at all.

Who are Belgium’s best players?

Thibaut Courtois

The Real Madrid goalkeeper is probably the best at what he does right now, but he may have a tough time in Qatar.

Courtois is a key player for Belgium. He is 30 years old and has 96 caps under his belt. At the last World Cup, he made 27 saves in seven games and won the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper.

Kevin De Bruyne

It’s hard to say enough about how much Belgium needs Kevin De Bruyne’s individual brilliance now that captain Eden Hazard isn’t as good as he used to be. The Manchester City star will move around the field as a roaming playmaker for his country. However, Belgium might be better off if he played as one of the two central midfielders and Leandro Trossard started instead.

De Bruyne has scored 25 goals in 93 games for his country, but what makes him so important to Roberto Martinez and Belgium is that he can set up goals.

Romelu Lukaku

Capped over 100 times by his country, Romelu Lukaku is by far and away Belgium’s most prolific international goalscorer. The 29-year-old has scored 68 goals so far, 57 of which have come in his last 60 games for the Red Devils.

He did well for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup, where he scored four goals. He did the same thing at the postponed Euro 2020, which shows that his goals also come at important times. Also, Lukaku is the kind of striker who can score all kinds of goals, and if he has a chance to score, he usually doesn’t need a second chance.

Belgium said which players would start.

Because Roberto Martinez’s tactics don’t change much, Belgium might be one of the easiest teams to predict at the 2022 World Cup. They will play the same 3-4-3 formation they have used for all six years he has been in charge, and he is not likely to make any big changes to the starting lineup.

Due to Lukaku’s injury, Michy Batshuayi will start as the central forward instead of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. The midfield and defence look pretty set. Martinez might have to choose between Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen and another solid centre back as his only tough choice.

Zeno Debast, a 19-year-old defender for Anderlecht, was picked to play against the Netherlands and Wales in the Nations League, even though he hasn’t played much before. Martinez has choices, such as moving Leander Dendoncker back to give the team more mobility. Arthur Theate, a centre back for Rennes, could be the best choice, but he usually plays in a back four.

Belgium predicted XI: Courtois; Debast, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Meunier, Witsel, Tielemans, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Batshuayi, Hazard.

How Belgium has been playing before the World Cup

The 4-1 loss to the Netherlands at home in June stands out, but the next game, against Poland, Belgium came back from being down to beat Poland 6-1. Since then, their two wins against Poland and Wales have been boring, and so has the football. In their last game, they lost 1-0 to the Netherlands after Virgil Van Dijk headed in a corner kick. This hasn’t given them much hope for the tournament.

Before their first game, which is against Canada on November 23, Belgium only has a friendly match against Egypt on November 18.

Belgium’s last five results

Belgium 6-1 Poland
Wales 1-1 Belgium
Poland 0-1 Belgium
Belgium 2-1 Wales
Netherlands 1-0 Belgium

Where will Belgium finish in the World Cup?

Overall, this Belgium team isn’t nearly as dangerous as it used to be, and they won’t be able to go as far as they did in Russia. De Bruyne’s ability to make plays should be enough for Belgium to get through a tough group with Croatia and Morocco. After that, though, they could face either Spain or Germany.

Any fast team could really hurt Alderweireld and Vertonghen in the Belgian defence, and they don’t have enough of a goal threat without a fully fit and firing Lukaku. Both possible opponents would be nightmares, and it’s hard to see this old Belgium team winning against either of them.