10 Reasons Why Eden Hazard Can Spark a Massive World Cup for Belgium
Grouped with Algeria, Russia and South Korea, it is not unlikely De Rode Duivels will progress to the knockout stage of the tournament, and who knows what will happen then?
While they’re not immediately tipped as tournament winners, it is clear the Belgians have a group of players able to at least challenge even the biggest teams in the tournament.
A lot will depend, though, on Eden Hazard’s performance. Even though he’s far from the only quality player in the squad, he’s the one who can spark a massive World Cup for Belgium.
He Has Had a Great Season
This season, Eden Hazard scored 14 goals in 33 appearances. What’s more, he created 87 chances. For a 23-year-old winger playing in the highly competitive Premier League, these numbers are impressive.
There’s no doubt Hazard has established himself as one of Chelsea’s key players this season. On more than one occasion, he has stepped up to the mark, scoring goals and delivering assists to his team-mates. Take his performance against Newcastle United, for example, where he scored a hat-trick.
Surely, Hazard will be eager to continue his good run of form in the summer.
He Is Showing Maturity
You see it a lot with young, technically gifted wingers. They’re too eager to perform and to show off their skills. They try to run past defenders when they should pass, and they pass when they should shoot.
Often, young wingers are unable to make the right calls at the right moment. They simply lack the maturity and the experience to do so.
Not with Eden Hazard, though. Not anymore. After a couple of seasons playing in the Premier League, the Belgian winger is now mature enough to judge any situation on the pitch.
He Has Big-Game Experience
As of now, Chelsea are still in the race for the Premier League, although it looks as if Mourinho is planning on giving up on the title in order to put all focus on the all-important Champions League.
In any case, the riveting conclusion to the 2013-14 season will give Hazard exactly what he needs during the World Cup: Big-match experience.
Should Chelsea succeed in beating Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions League, it’s likely Hazard will even get to experience the pressure of a final. That experience would surely aid Hazard in handling the pressures of the World Cup.
He Has Confidence
He has had an excellent season at Chelsea and now he has the World Cup to look forward to. Judging by his recent attitude on the pitch with Chelsea, this prospect will fill Eden Hazard with confidence—not with fear.
For any player, confidence is constitutive to a good performance. Just look at some of Hazard’s Belgium team-mates. Marouane Fellaini, who has had a disastrous season with Manchester United, seems like a shadow of his former self at the moment. His confidence seems to have left him.
Hazard, however, will travel to Brazil with a smile on his face, and this could prove to make a world of difference.
The World Is Recognising His Talent
Eden Hazard seems to believe in himself, but now that the Professional Footballers Association has nominated him for the Player of Year and Young Player of the Year award, the world seems to be recognising his talent as well.
This will no doubt feed into Hazard’s confidence even more. Especially if he wins one—or both—of the awards, Hazard will be travelling to Brazil feeling like he can take on the world.
He Is Hungry for Success
Confident as he may be, during the summer Eden Hazard will still be hungry for success—even if he does get the Player of the Year or Young Player of the Year award.
With Liverpool closing in on the Premier League title and the Champions League all but decided, it’s even possible Chelsea will end this season without a single trophy. In this case, Hazard would be going into the summer anxious to set this right.
Getting a taste of success by winning the Champions League or the Premier League, on the other hand, will simply make Hazard hungry for more.
His Team-Mates Will Work for Him
Players like Timmy Simons and Daniel van Buyten might be more experienced than him, but few players in the Belgium squad have the creative talent of Eden Hazard.
For this reason, his team-mates will always be looking at him to build up—or finish off—the attack and provide that all-important bit of flair.
After his great season with Chelsea, De Rode Duivels will be looking at Hazard to make the difference during the World Cup.
His Boss Backs Him
De Rode Duivels will need Eden Hazard to be truly successful at the World Cup, and more than likely, Belgium boss Marc Wilmots is aware of that.
Wilmots has played Hazard in different positions—on the left as well as in the middle—and undoubtedly, he has analysed thoroughly what tactical approach gets the most out of Belgium’s main creative hub.
Especially if Hazard manages to finish his Chelsea season on a high note, Wilmots will be looking at him to make the difference.
He Will Be Match Fit
Eden Hazard missed the first leg of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid because of a nagging calf injury. It is likely he will miss Chelsea’s all-deciding Premier League match against Liverpool as well.
What’s bad for Chelsea, however, will be good for Belgium, as Hazard will be well rested before he joins the Rode Duivels to travel to Brazil.
More often than not, exhausting and prolonged seasons will tire a player out before the start of an international tournament. Belgium can count themselves lucky that this will not be the case with Hazard.
There Is Not Too Much Pressure
Belgium have some exciting players and at first sight, their group does not seem too difficult. Still, De Rode Duivels are not seen as one of the main contenders to win the World Cup.
In this regard, circumstances are ideal for the Belgians to shine. There’s not too much pressure, yet people are watching in excitement.
Belgium as a collective, and Hazard individually, will get the freedom to play without the weight of the world on their shoulders.
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