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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Vermaelen dreaming of World Cup

Kevin Palmer

Thomas Vermaelen says it would be "a dream" for him to play in the 2014 World Cup finals with Belgium, but he accepts the pressure is on as they target qualification from Group A.

With a galaxy of high-profile stars now flooding their squad, Vermaelen believes his nation have their best chance to make a big impression in a major tournament since they finished fourth at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, although he knows they must prove they can live up to their lofty billing.

"It would be a dream and an honour to go to the 2014 World Cup, but we know there is so much for us to do before we can think about that," Vermaelen told the Arsenal website. "I have never been fortunate enough to play in a major tournament and the same is true for everyone in our squad. As I am getting older, it would be nice if this could happen now and we have a great chance. I feel the time is right to go through."

Belgium started their Group A qualifying push with a win against Wales last month, but the 1-1 home draw against Croatia a few days later was considered to be a disappointing result and Vermaelen suggests their new status as qualification favourites is putting additional pressure onto the shoulders of his team-mates.

"At the moment everyone is really positive about the national team, especially in England because they know a lot of players in the Premier League that play for Belgium, but that means the expectations and the pressure is higher. We are expected to go to the World Cup but it's not easy. You have to fight for every three points because the international level is quite high."

Belgium continue their qualifying campaign with a tricky trip to Serbia on Friday before welcoming Scotland to Brussels next Tuesday.

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