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Discussion Starter #1
In the EURO 2004 draw, Belgium's in the same group as Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia and Andorra. Seems like a good draw from which we should at least get qualifying matches and hopefully a direct qualify, but then we'll have to play a bit smarter against the croatians this time :eek: .

Andorra is a piece of cake. Just pick up the 6 points (without underestimating them, of course) and leave the yellow cards and injuries behind, please. :D ;)

Bulgaria and Estonia seem like no great shakes, but these teams can surprise you when you think you'll easily beat them. They may not be able to qualify, but they can make other teams lose their chances. Remember Estonia - Holland, right? ;)

So what do you think? Can we make it? Or will it be harder (or easier) than it looks now?

greetz,
binswhacker
 

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Yes, qualification games are surely possible :tongue:

Hopefully we don't play Croatia or Bulgaria in our first game. Don't know much about Bulgaria though but we should be mostly concentrated on Croatia.

Estonia and Andorra are hard to say. Normally they shouldn't be a problem and are like San Marino and Latvia with who we hadn't too much problems either.

First place is surely possible because despite some players quitting after the WC there are good players ready to take their places.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
If you mean Wilmots, then that wouldn't be a problem on the field. What worries me more, is finding someone who can take over the role of "moral leader" Wilmots got during the past two years. Who could do that after Japan and Korea? Goor, Verheyen en Devlieger are experienced players who will probably get much respect from the younger players, but they don't seem like the authoritarian leader type. Sonck on the other hand is a take charge kind of guy, but it is pretty questionable wether or not the other players will be so hasty to listen to a guy who (at least as an international) is just peeping around the corner.

But who else would be quitting then? Maybe Van Meir, but Vanderhaeghe could esaily go on for 2 more years, although he will be getting some very stiff competition from Timmy Simons for that defending midfielder position. :D :) Apart from that, I wouldn't immediately know, so who else would be stopping then, kevin ?
 

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Actually i was hoping for Vanderhaeghe to quit too :D Not because he is that bad but i rather give an upcoming guy like Simons a chance for the EC.

That until i realised players like him (and a Van Meir for example) aren't that old as i expected :rolleyes: There won't be that many changes on a second thought , my mistake :eek:

When Wilmots quits it will be indeed hard to fill his role off the field. I don't think Sonck will be accepted to do this for the reason you said. Probably Van Meir will be put forward by Waseige to take this role ?!
 

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qualifying should be an easy task " with our fightingspirit "
and then we won't wurvive the first stage of the actual EK groupstage :confused: :rolleyes:
 

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I'm not sure what to think of this draw. The Croatian team is getting older and older, but still they finished ahead of us for the world cup.

I guess Andorra is a walk over. We should win against Estonia, but anyone who saw the game Estonia - The Netherlands will know better than to think it's gonna be easy.

The big mystery to me is Bulgaria. They had an awesome team in the early to mid '90's but all those players are gone now. The national coach is trying to build a new team with youngsters, but we'll have to wait and see how well they do.

All in all, I think Belgium should be able to qualify, but it won't be easy. And we shouldn't forgot that, in a contrast with how well we've done in qualifying for the world cup over the last 20 years, we failed to qualify for any EC since 1984 :(
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Runes Order said:
qualifying should be an easy task " with our fightingspirit "
and then we won't wurvive the first stage of the actual EK groupstage :confused: :rolleyes:
Well, things are looking good for the future with young talents like Blondel, Buffel, Dufer, Vandenbergh en Smolders coming up for the next years, but until then we'll idd have to rely on the "fighting spirit" we have. The question is who is going that "holy fire" alive: Van Meir is possible, Sonck (but only in a few years time then, say 2005, 2006) or maybe Bob Peeters. Let's be honest, everybody likes Bob and he brings a good atmosphere to the group. If he can make one or two of the same "sacrifices" Wilmots made, he might just make it as a new "leader on the field".
 

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Q007 said:
I'm not sure what to think of this draw. The Croatian team is getting older and older, but still they finished ahead of us for the world cup.

This is a sad old myth, Croatia is not an old team, quite the contrary, it is one of the youngest. This is the team that started against Belgium

Pletikosa (23)
Zivkovic (27) Simic (27) Tudor (24) Kovac (27)
Tomas (26) Prosinecki (32) Soldo (31) Jarni (33)
Vlaovic (29) Boksic (31)

off the bench : Rapaic(28) Vranjes (23) Balaban (24)

others frequently used are Biscan (24) Vugrinec (27) Rukavina (27) and Stanic (29)
plus a crapload of youngens, and sometimes 33 year old Suker, rarely.

That makes our average age a bit less than 27 years old.

I hardly think this is old, or getting older, this generation has a few good years left ;) and certainly a 2004 appearence.
 

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Well I won't argue with you, I'm not that much of a football expert and certainly not about Croation football.

What I mean is, the most important players of the past and also the most famous, are gone or old: Prosinecki, Jarni, Boksic, Suker, Boban. These guys proved in '98 they were world class. The new ones, maybe they are as good, maybe not, it still needs to be seen :)
 

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First thing I hear of this :eek: :confused: . Looks like we were lucky again. :rolleyes: :) . Anyway second place is a must and maybe, just maybe we can take on Croatia this time.


Eros when we say Croatia is and old team, we don't think of age, but more about the lenght of the career of some of the key-players (Prosinecki, Suker,...). It's our hope that those players are not likely to live up for one tournament once again.

Saying that I must admit that (as i wrote earlier) I'm very impressed by the steel (and young) defensive of Croatia.
 

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point taken fellas, our defense in definitely the backbone of the team, but we must also have the mids and strikers to back it up, I'm personally confident, but anything can happen.

having said this, I have to give credit where credit's due. The Belgian counter attack was deadly against the Scots, and we managed only 2 draws in our encounters with them. Belgium has a tall defensive line, and a quick midfield with Wesley Sonck.

Mpenza will most likely be in better form after the WC, and the Belgian team will be better for it.

You outplayed the Czechs in the playoff, and I told them all on the EE board that the Belgians will win. They called me crazy, I was right though.

I wish you all the best in the WC, and also for the qualifiers next year.

btw. Boban was a class player, we haven't midfielders to replace his genious, when Robi Prosinecki leaves, we will be stuck once again. We need someone like Wilmots :) (I know some of you don't like him, but he played well against the Scots in Bruxelles)
 

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Ero said:
We need someone like Wilmots :) (I know some of you don't like him, but he played well against the Scots in Bruxelles)
Be my guest and take him :angel: ....please :D
 

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binswhacker said:
Huh? :eek: What's wrong with "der Willy" all of a sudden?
Euh... Yeah, what do you mean??? :eek: :rolleyes: :cool:
 

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It's always interesting to be again drawn into the same group as the previous qualifying campaign.

I'd have preferred it another way however am confident we can win the group. If we don't win the group, we'll get a playoff spot at least, since Bulgaria is in a rebuilding stage and don't seem like they can put up much at this point in time.

It's better to analyze the group after the WC though. By that time, we'll lose some of our veterans and hopefully gain some new stars in the form of our juniors, same goes for you guys;)
 

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binswhacker said:
Huh? :eek: What's wrong with "der Willy" all of a sudden?
All of a sudden? :confused: :D

Since the last 10 years I'm wondering why people think Wilmots belongs in the NT. I'm totally convinced he brings the quality of the team down.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What quality? :confused: Back in 1998, we had nothing. No basic team, no players willing to make that extra effort for the NT. :rolleyes: If there are any players to thank for the return we made from the gutter the past few years (apart from coach Waseige) it's guys like Vanderhaeghe and Wilmots who put the fighting spirit back in the Red Devils. So dropping Wilmots would be pretty ungrateful and unrespectful, wouldn't it? As I said before, he may not be the star player he used to be, but he means a lot more to the current NT than meets the eye.

greetz,
binswhacker
 

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Yes I know that is the reply I always get? But what does he bring? His passing is awfull, he can't dribble, for every shot that is on target, 10 go out of the stadion... . I mean fighting spirit is ok, but if you only have fighting spirit you're team is pathic. that is the reason we failed at WC98 and Euro2000. We went for the fighters, the players with th "good" attitude. Result was we couldn't keep the ball in the team for 1 minute. The Belgian Nt doesn't need the Wilmotses or the VDH's. They need Baseggio's, the Simonses. Players with technique and vision.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It's a good thing you bring up Simons, because he is definetily one of the players that is useful (and no, I'm not saying that because he plays with with Club Brugge) in a way that you would definetily agree with: a technical and fast player (often works in one time and still hardly ever a bad pass; Waseige said "never") with overview and a sense of hard work that's needed on that spot.

The best thing for the NT would be a combination of the two factors we just mentioned (technique and attitude), something we do have with some of the young talents that are coming up like Blondel and Vreven. But during the past 4 years we had to rebuild a team and that does not work immediately. What Waseige did and what I found ingenious was that he laid a foudation for a long term period.

First he brought the "NT-feeling" back again and don't laugh, that's important. The players considered a place in the NT once again as a real merit, something you had to deserve by playing well over a longer period of time and not by screaming in the papers after 3 good games: "I have to be in the NT next game or I quit." That kind of thing. That only brought childish fights along and divided the team whereas the players are now willing to fight for each other. That's not the ultimate goal, but the basis you can build on with technical payers by gradually easing them in and letting them lift the others to a higher level. I know what you mean with what you about fighters and technicans and to a degree I agree but I'd rather have 11 simply "good" technical players who give 100% in a game than 11 super-technical primadonnas who think they can make it on 50% or even less - isn't that for example why the Dutch NT didn't this year's WC? ;)

greetz,
binswhacker
 

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Yes of course football on the first (second and third) spot is a team-game. We do not need players like Seedorf who are awfully gifted but can understand that they are not "god's gift to football". On the other hand I understand players that vent their frustrations because they are blocked in the NT by someone that ios clearly less good. I mean the last years everybody got a selection. Certainly Leekens made some choices that no sane man can defend. If you select people like Delbrouk or Chris Janssens over Baseggio (even the young unexperienced Baseggio), you just don't understand a thing about football.

That was not building a team. Building a team is also including young talents (like indeed Blonel, Daems or Soetaers) with the risk of them making errors. In the end you'll gain from that. I feel we still choose to many times for the "mediocre experienced player with a good attitude", who clearly will never have the skills to make at the real top-level (yes I mean VDH for example) over a youngster who in potential will one day be able to make it.
 
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