Apart from that, what struck me early on in the game was that Eden Hazard was really up for the game – much more than usual for Belgium – and that this was having the effect of diminishing Kevin De Bruyne’s role.
Here are the 10 things we learnt last night (or at least over a croissant and coffee this morning):
1. Both Hazard and De Bruyne want to be the main man (in attack). This is tricky as they have totally different styles and whoever is the (main) playmaker dictates the way the team plays.
2. In the game last night, Hazard was excellent but by moving into the centre – to take on his responsibilities, as he said – De Bruyne (who achieved little) was forced to plug gaps elsewhere.
3. If Hazard is to be given the number ‘10’ role, or if he takes it, then it would be best to choose two real wingers – from Dries Mertens, Adnan Januzaj, Kevin Mirallas when fit – and that would leave no place for De Bruyne.
4. Neither De Bruyne nor Nacer Chadli look particularly happy on the wing – they need to be more involved; in the centre (if selected).
5. Belgium do not yet have an international-class centre forward: Christian Benteke is too static, Romulu Lukaku is limited technically and Divock Origi is a great prospect but raw.
6. Toby Alderweireld looks much happier as a centre back than at right back; unfortunately he will have to go back there when Vincent Kompany returns.
7. Axel Witsel is world-class playing in front of the defence – disciplined, reads the game well, hardly ever makes an error.
8. Marouane Fellaini is a ‘Plan B’ at best; Wilmots has other options for a box-to-box player in a 4-3-3 formation, they include Roma’s Radja Nainggolan.
9. Although Marc Wilmots said five points from nine was not a catastrophe, three of those were against Andorra.
10. Belgium have not improved (‘trained on’ in horseracing terms) since Brazil and Wilmots needs to shake things up. There are young players on the fringes who could come to the fore in the next couple of years, while several of the current squad are there based on reputation.
About 6), I would have said Alderweireld was really missing on the wing, in the last games he had there he was really good there (both in defense and attack), def. better then AVB.
I mostly agree with the rest, Naingollan could really be the missing piece in the midfield and Fellaini should be plan B for most of the games (depending on the opponent/game conditions).
Maybe but having seen Alderweireld in a lot of games for Belgium, I felt he looked really comfortable in the centre against Wales. That’s the position he knows and it showed.