World Cup: Belgium player by player
First Published: Jun 14, 2002
Belgium need a convincing attacking display to beat Russia and reach the seond round.
Helped Mouscron to the cup final with a good late run of form in the season and is a good shot-stopper but very much the third choice for Waseige.
GEERT DE VLEIGER
Poor form with Anderlecht has not prevented De Vleiger from becoming central to Waseige's plans for the national team. He could alternate with De Wilde if matches over the last six months are any guide but De Wilde's experience could carry the main selection arguments for the coach.
KAA Gent goalkeeper who has earned late recognition from coach Waseige. Decent handling skills and reflexes but the coach has other plans for who will start matches in the tournament.
A Bundesliga veteran who has been introduced into the squad by Waseige to help with defensive duties. Peeters provides cover as a full back in the squad but has not had a great season. Disinclined to do much attacking he will be relied upon to cover for others who venture forward. His game is rather limited.
A good attacking player. He rarely scores though and needs to improve his final ball if he is to make a prolonged impact in the national side. Recalled to play as right back where he was used in the France 98 squad.
NICO VAN KERCKHOVEN
Creative forward and a determined finisher with either foot. He can also play as a left back but is unlikely to see much action this month in that position. A great season in the Bundesliga for Schalke 04 and he helped Lierse to win the 1997 championship in Belgium and was taken to the last World Cup.
DANIEL VAN BUYTEN
Talented centre back who has survived the circus-like management at OM to flourish. Good in the air but very skilled on the ball, Van Buyten will be watched by several agents at the finals. He has denied that talks over a move to Juventus took place in April but a major bid could be coming for the defender with Manchester United also interested.
Glen DE BOECK
Fast and skilful player who could well impress if Belgium start well. Tall and well balanced defender who can bring the ball out of defence well. Excellent control and a good attacker who can read the game very well.
ERIC VAN MEIR
If he was a bit more violent he could be an outrageous thug and a real joy to watch next month. Technically limited unless asked to hit the ball as hard as he can. A good tackler when he can really connect.
Very fast and a winger in the traditional mould when he stays on the wing. A fine dribbler with excellent balance. He can play, as is the current vogue, in a number of positions.
Goor has enjoyed an excellent season with Hertha Berlin and could be a an eye catching performer for the Belgian team. He plays on the left which always enhances a player's reputation for skill and technique and began his career as a wayward and unpredictable striker before applying himself to work on the left wing. Goor's skills make Belgium one of the best equipped teams in the competition for left sided players.
Defensive organiser in midfield and an almost certain starter after a lte run over the past few months to seize his chance. He was used initially to ease veteran Yves Vanderhaeghe out of the squad but Waseige now likes extra cover for his defence and Simons is a tidy player.
Won the cup with Bruges and a compact midfield runner who has been added to the squad to cover several positions and only likely to be used as a substitute. Englebert is a recent addition to the squad and has only featured in three friendlies.
Part of the Genk championship-winning side, Thijs is emerging as a decent wide player on the right of the side but is untested at the highest level. Crosses well and works hard to tackle back but mas yet to impress.
Midfield ball-winner who is a tough tackler and stands a chance of starting if Waseige is in a particularly cautious mood. Hard runner who knits pay together well for Schalke 04 but his determined style has yet to win a regular place in the national set-up.
Walem signed for Udinese in 1997 and his talent for passing led them into a third place finish in Serie A that season. Team mate Oliver Bierhoff wanted the former Anderlecht player to join him at AC Milan that summer but a deal never took place. Not even close to being a regular for his country and Waseige has followed former coach Georges Leekens' lead by largely ignoring this excellent natural talent.
Verheyen is now the first choice player on the right hand side under coach Waseige and he is often pushed well up into attack to play as a winger. Poor first touch and an awkward style belie ability to beat defenders and make crosses for the forwards. Very hard worker.
A tidy hard worker whose clipped passes to and fro across the centre of the Belgian team can get to dominate play. This is good if the team is on the attack but can be negative if Vanderhaeghe stays in a withdrawn position. He recovered from a brain tumour three years ago after he collapsed following a training session for Mouscron and earned wide celebrity in Belgium for this.
Undemonstrative but efficient midfielder who can also score goals. He can do the normal midfield duties well but can also be useful when pushed on by the side as he has a knack of scoring goals. Not tall but good in the air as well.
Similar to his brother but he likes to get wider and can cross the ball well. A better passer than his brother but he does not get into the goal scoring position s enough to eclipse the excitement Lokonda can generate.
Strupar was signed by Derby County to play in the Premiership and the Croatian-born player has done reasonably well in a very poor Derby side that was relegated last season. He was the top scorer in Belgium with Genk three years ago which attracted the English club's attention and he is a near certain starter in the finals. A great finisher when he can find space and much of the Belgian front play is geared to creating such chances.
A fast and exciting finisher whose raw ability contrasts with much of the rest of the team. He is now the main hope for goals after the injury to Emile Mpenza and is set to start. Mobile runs help to avoid marking and he improvises well but this stage is a big step up in class.