Kevin De Bruyne’s assessment may have been blunt, but it’s true. The world’s most creative midfielder was in somewhat candid form in Qatar, expressing his bewilderment when he was named man of the match for his subdued display against Canada, then used Interview with the Guardian For turning down his team’s chances of winning the World Cup. He said, “There is no chance.” “We are getting old.”
He’s right too. It has been eight years since Belgium’s golden generation made their debut at this tournament. In Brazil in 2014 it was still a young team, a touch inexperienced, and somewhat green. But still, that was the moment when the clock started ticking.
The World Cup, like many things in soccer, is special because it is rare. This is why Gianni Infantino’s idea to stage it every two seasons was so harmful. Its value lies in the fact that every group of players, no matter how good, has to peak at just the right time to stand a chance.
For Belgium, that came in Russia in 2018, when their defense was seasoned rather than creaky; When De Bruyne and Eden Hazard matured; When Romelu Lukaku wasn’t even starting to show signs of wear and tear. This team’s achievements should not be underestimated: for a country the size of Belgium to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup, that’s pretty impressive.
But in the end, he fails. Sadly, brutally, that was her missed opportunity. No generation of players gets three World Cup chances, not at their peak. Belgium can still go deep in this tournament, of course. There is enough talent in Roberto Martinez’s disposition to upset almost anyone in the tournament. However, De Bruyne’s outspokenness is not out of place. It is an immutable law of the sport that his team, now, is too big to win.
“Tv expert. Writer. Extreme gamer. Subtly charming web specialist. Student. Evil coffee buff.”