Much coveted Chelsea flop can wake Belgium from Euro slumber

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A golden generation of footballers wasting numerous opportunities to make their mark on history, sound familiar? At this rate Belgium’s own blessed crop could be heading the same way as England circa 2000.

Packed to the rafters with world class talent, Marc Wilmot’s Red Devils huffed and puffed their way to a World Cup quarter-final in the summer only to limp out of the tournament 1-0 to a similarly underwhelming Argentina side.

Much-vaunted European nations failing to adapt to hot and humid conditions is nothing new, though there is far less mitigation on the continent where Belgium are in a sticky situation early in Euro 2016 qualification.

Group B leaders Israel have secured maximum points from their opening three matches while Belgium have mustered only five from the same number, which sees them fourth.

While they have a game in hand over Wales in second, and next opponents Cyprus, anything other than a full quota of points would be highly-damaging in an unexpectedly competitive group.

Belgium are still hugely-fancied by Ladbrokes to finish top of the pile at 2/7, but having only mustered a single goal in successive draws, this bet cannot be made with anything like confidence.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man though. Rejected by Chelsea, Kevin de Bruyne has been on a one-man Bundesliga wrecking mission since joining Wolfsburg permanently in the summer.

De Bruyne’s 16 goals for club and country this season have transformed the boyish midfielder from flop to world beater, culminating in strong rumours Bayern Munich will go all out to procure his services in the summer.

The former Stamford Bridge resident’s double in Belgium’s opening rout of Andorra in Group B, looked to have set Belgium on their merry way, but now his teammates need him to sprinkle similar magic again.

With three goals in last four Wolfsburg appearances the 8/5 about De Bruyne scoring in a Belgium win over Cyprus comes highly recommended.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.