Germany coach Joachim Loew has told Bild he sees Belgium as dark horses for next year’s World Cup.
Belgium finished nine points ahead of Croatia to top Group A and book their place in Brazil, and the Red Devils are one of eight seeded teams for the finals next summer.
German tabloid Bild produced an article, headlined ‘The Battling Pig and the amazing Belgians’, examining the team’s strengths, and Loew said: “For me, they are a secret favourite.”
Former Belgium international Roger Van Gool, who became Germany’s first million Mark transfer when he signed for Cologne in 1976, paid tribute to the efforts of coach Marc Wilmots, who had earned the nickname “Kampfschwein” (battling pig) during his time as a player with Schalke. “Through him, they have learned to fight,” Van Gool said.
Belgium and Bayern Munich legend Jean-Marie Pfaff feels Wilmots’ men can at least replicate their performance at the 1986 World Cup, when they exited at the semifinal stage to an Argentina side inspired by Diego Maradona.
Bild concludes: “So, Pfaff says that Belgium can reach the semifinals? Possibly. Unless Germany sends them packing before they get there.”