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1000dB

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Everything posted by 1000dB

  1. Standard failed to grab the 10 points needed to advance to the KOs last matchday and also this matchday (despite having a 2 goal lead to defend). It was a hard group and yet they came close again. The draw(s) haven't been kind to Belgian clubs. In future a bit more luck, like all those soft draws that Holland has been getting, wouldn't go amiss. Antwerp losing their head in the qualis has proven to be quite damaging at the end of the group stage. AZ took 8 points home (11.5 including the games before their win over Antwerp) and has given Holland's coefficient a 1.6 lead over Belgium's this season. Had Antwerp kept their cool instead, Belgium could have very well regained the ground lost in the two previous seasons (0.3 in 2018 and 0.8 in 2019 = 1.1). Holland could overtake Belgium in the rankings sooner rather than later. Better start getting results. Let's see how Gent and Brugge fare next.
  2. I feel 5 centre backs (+ Dendoncker if needed) is plenty but Martinez could opt for 6 instead and might want to give Kompany, if fit and in form, a chance to end his career as an international on a high. Kompany wants to be there but Martinez said he'd only include him if Kompany has match rhythm. Martinez only took Lukaku and Batshuayi with him in 2018. Mertens or Hazard can also provide cover. Might again opt for two strikers this summer.
  3. I don't like making yet another long-winded post. Lengthy posts get hidden anyway and then I have to bother Kev again. Besides I don't expect a huge churn compared to Russia 2018. The team is settled. Any question marks can be resolved in March plus can't tell now who'll be fit and in form come summer.
  4. Flawless in qualifying is another first achieved by this generation. It doesn't hurt to keep winning games to instill a winning mentality. Mentally the team does look stonger, since the World Cup campaign, and team spirit has been superb as usual. Belgium on top of the overall ranking. I'm quite proud of our EURO 2020 campaign so far. And, besides finishing the year as the highest ranked team in the world again (+ picking up yet another FIFA Team of the Year award), Belgium is Elo's No.1 for the first time as well. Our Elo rating (+ our FIFA ranking) isn't simply about vanity, it does show how well the team has been performing compared to others. Belgium is a well-oiled machine. The away game against Russia was the most recent statement of what to expect from us this summer. The Russians have been playing well and gave it their best against us (expecting them to be more cautious next time we meet). Belgium possess too many weapons for a team like Russia to handle. Yet you have to beat better teams to go all the way. A shame the NL was a let-down. Didn't get to play against other favourites while we could do with a few more competitive games against top sides. TBF the World Cup games against Brazil, France and England weren't that long ago and there isn't much opportunity to play against the very best in a competitive setting, let alone with the added pressure of a major tournament. Martinez promised to bring Vanheusden (got injured and was needed in the U21s; apropos only days ago they won against Germany's U21s). Regardless, I had hoped Martinez would make good on his promise and start bedding him in. Probably my biggest qualm because rejuvenating the defence is a priority for me. Can't really complain though as Boyata is doing very well and he has grown on me. Thorgan and Tielemans are coming along nicely as well. Januzaj OTOH not so much and even though Vanaken hasn't had many chances he has yet to convince me (he's not 18yo, in fact he'll turn 28 this summer). Hey-ho they're on the fringes after all while the big guns have shown you can count on them (plus Castagne, Carrasco, Vermaelen, Denayer, Dendoncker, Tielemans, etc. can provide adequate cover). Lastly, a shame about Benteke (was hoping he'd finally find his old form at club level this season), seeing a big target man still is quite effective in NT tournaments. Guess that's why Martinez keeps calling him up. PS I hear this Friday we'll know if we play two games in Russia or Denmark (when the play-off draw is held). I prefer Saint-Petersburg (I like the stadium more and recently we've played there a few times). Then, on the 30th, the match schedule will be determined and regarding who'll be our group's pot 4 team it's a coin flip between Wales and Finland (I'd rather have Wales, they're better than Finland but based on recent memory it's better to face them in the group than in the next round(s) and there's somewhat of a score to settle from the previous Euros). If we get Wales then Finland goes into Italy's group and vice versa.
  5. None of the big teams and not a chance that we'll be joined by League D's play-off winner. FML. EURO 2020 Group B: Belgium Russia Denmark Finland UEFA separate Russia and Kosovo in bid to keep the peace => meaning the League D play-off winner cannot be drawn into Belgium's group. The other play-off paths will most likely contain hosts linked to other groups. Currently Finland and Hungary are in pot 4 but as Hungary are hosting as well Belgium's group for EURO 2020 is already complete (*ATM Czech Rep., Wales or Slovakia can still end up in pot 4 instead of Hungary). Both Russia and Denmark play their games against Belgium at home and a draw will decide if Belgium plays two group games in Russia or Denmark. The Finnish will play close to home at either venue and they're a fairytale in the making, a new Iceland. Facing Russia again (it will probably be a cagey affair unless the Russians need a win to advance), Denmark are quite decent, very much underrated (yet against this red-hot Belgium...) and Finland shamelessly parking the bus ... not what I wished for, not at all. Luckily Belgium have become very adept at unlocking ultra-defensive teams.
  6. When Holland eventually overtake Belgium remind me to blame Antwerp. Easier games in the final matchdays. Let's see who'll advance from the groups.
  7. How the final EURO 2020 draw looks now (of course November's results might cause a few changes):Group AItalyPoland/Turkey/Croatia/FranceCzech Rep./Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/SlovakiaFinland/SwedenGroup B Belgium Denmark Russia Finland/SwedenGroup CNetherlandsPoland/Turkey/Croatia/FranceCzech Rep./Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/SlovakiaLeague A or League D play-off winnerGroup DEnglandPoland/Turkey/Croatia/FranceCzech Rep./Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/SlovakiaLeague C play-off winnerGroup ESpainPoland/Turkey/Croatia/FranceCzech Rep./Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/SlovakiaLeague B play-off winnerGroup FUkraineGermanyCzech Rep./Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/SlovakiaLeague A or League D play-off winner Belgium would automatically go to group B as top seeds. Russia and Denmark are both pot 2 teams but they have been paired and must go into this group. Sweden could be the pot 4 team. Probably the strongest team you can get from that pot, especially in this group as they'll be playing close to home. Both Russia and Denmark play their games against Belgium at home and a draw will decide if Belgium plays two group games in Russia or Denmark. Better to win this group because the runners-up have to travel excessively to go on a deep run (quarters in Baku with not much rest before the semis in London). I'd rather avoid playing Russia again at the EUROs. Not unlikely Russia would have to become group winners in the qualis for that to be the case. Belgium being drawn into another group, even one that contains one of the top favourites, has the added benefit you wouldn't have to face that team again unless you both reach the final for example. My desired group would be Belgium + two of France, Holland, Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, Croatia, ... (not Italy because it's the worst group to be drawn into) + the League D play-off winner. With a League D team in the group failing to advance to the KO stage should be impossible. Great games, already in the group stage, and better chances at a deep run.
  8. How the final EURO 2020 draw looks now (of course November's results might cause a few changes): A: Italy Poland/Turkey/Croatia/France Czechia/Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/Slovakia Finland/Sweden B: Belgium Denmark Russia Finland/Sweden C Netherlands Poland/Turkey/Croatia/France Czechia/Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/Slovakia League A or League D play-off winner D England Poland/Turkey/Croatia/France Czechia/Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/Slovakia League C play-off winner E: Spain Poland/Turkey/Croatia/France Czechia/Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/Slovakia League B play-off winner F: Ukraine Germany Czechia/Portugal/Switzerland/Austria/Slovakia League A or League D play-off winner Belgium would automatically go to group B as top seeds. Russia and Denmark are both pot 2 teams but they have been paired and must go into this group. Sweden could be the pot 4 team. Probably the strongest team you can get from that pot, especially in this group as they'll be playing close to home. Both Russia and Denmark play their games against Belgium at home and a draw will decide if Belgium plays two group games in Russia or Denmark. Better to win this group because the runners-up have to travel excessively to go on a deep run (quarters in Baku with not much rest before the semis in London). I'd rather avoid playing Russia again at the EUROs. Not unlikely Russia would have to become group winners in the qualis for that to be the case. Belgium being drawn into another group, even one that contains one of the top favourites, has the added benefit you wouldn't have to face that team again unless you both reach the final for example. My desired group would be Belgium + two of France, Holland, Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, Croatia, ... (not Italy because it's the worst group to be drawn into) + the League D play-off winner. With a League D team in the group failing to advance to the KO stage should be impossible. Great games, already in the group stage, and better chances at a deep run.
  9. You want to play Russia again at the EUROs? Taking first in the qualis increases the chances of that happening/as things stand a draw might not even be needed and we'd automatically be added to Russia's group. Before the previous matchday Belgium (as group winners) would have to be drawn into group B (with Russia +/- Denmark) or group C (with Holland +/- Romania). After that matchday only group B would be open for Belgium unless things change in the final three matchdays. Group B is a decent one as far as travel distance, rest days, path through the KO rounds, etc. is concerned. Playing Russia again and Denmark, both in front of their home crowd is a drawback though. Wouldn't mind landing in Spain's group myself. I'd rather play them than Russia and there are even more advantages to this group. Who knows we might get lucky and be joined in our group by the League D play-off winner. In November we'll see which group(s) are still open to us. Might even be interesting to let Russia take first in the qualis but then again it's best to avoid Italy's group (= worst group regarding travel distance, KO stage path, etc.). Not expecting Martinez to make drastic changes to his squad and at the end of the season we'll see who's in form (and fully fit).
  10. I'd love a flawless record in the qualis but most importantly Belgium have qualified for the EUROs. Like the Russia 2018 qualis Belgium is again the first and currently only side to reach the final event. Loooong trip to Nur-Sultan now (used to be called Astana). With qualification already secured focus could very well be lost, as usual. Crappy plastic pitch as well. Kazakhstan can't qualify directly any longer but at home they'll try to get a result though. @thorgan lesar a pity about not scoring that 10th goal but hey-ho they once more equalled the record. Plus Lukaku became the first player to surpass the 50-goal mark and we witnessed Verschaeren's first for Belgium.
  11. Didn't watch. Good to hear they still do well at home in the CL. Now improve your away record, please smurfs.
  12. Can't complain. Brugge a bit unlucky not to get the win. Hopefully they keep Gala behind them. Also, nice to see Vanheusden is returning from injury. Had his fair share of injury woes already (enough = enough).
  13. Haaland's scorching form generated a few reports. Yet another hattrick. If you like goals... watch Genk. Their away record in the CL is abysmal (conceded 14 last time but TBF it's been a while). Hopefully Genk don't go pointless (3rd and dropping down to the EL is a big ask).
  14. A shame Yari's shot didn't go in. Always nice to score on your debut. Next game, at home against San Marino, Belgium will most likely be the first team to qualify for the EUROs. Top seed status is still at stake in the remaining games. Yet with 16/24 teams advancing to the KO rounds at the final event seeding isn't that important (but adding to our FIFA ranking could one day be). Martinez delivered on qualification and can already prepare for the EUROs (or experiment).
  15. The EL draw wasn't kind to Belgian teams: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt and Vitoría in Standard's group. Another very tough one and I doubt Standard advance. Wolfsburg, Saint-Étienne and Oleksandriya in Gent's group. Shouldn't finish lower than 3rd and with an improved away record Gent do have it in them to fight for the top 2 spots.
  16. Antwerp shot themselves in the foot. For failing to keep a cool head the blame is on them. Holland is moving up again in the rankings. Could have denied them points while adding to our total, in the group stage as well.
  17. Hopefully tomorrow we'll get a good draw for both Brugge and Genk. Would love to have 5 teams in Europe again. Gent should finish the job in Croatia and Antwerp returning to Europe would be great.
  18. Genk's group promises attractive football. City, instead of Liverpool, with KDB going up against his old club would be a nice touch. Would be a decent draw for Brugge.
  19. At least the Belgian FA changed their stance and will help clubs active in European competitions by postponing their games this weekend. Holland and Croatia had already helped their clubs. Only 4000 fans at the AZ - Antwerp tie, in a 30.000 seater, after the mayor of Enschede broke his word and decided not to allow Antwerp fans into the stadium after all. Should have spoken up before agreeing to host, especially as the reason for moving the tie to Enschede was because visiting fans weren't welcome in ADO's stadium. Already SMH when they moved the tie to the other side of the country but this is laughable. He claimed they couldn't handle it but when Antwerp fans looked to be making the trip anyway suddenly the mayor found the extra manpower. Police might have even outnumbered the few fans that went. Most likely the extra manpower wouldn't have been needed if the mayor hadn't reneged on his promise. What a joke. AZ fans OTOH will be received with open arms in Brussels (as Antwerp will also play their home game in another stadium).
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