Currently ranked as the number-one team in the world, the Belgian Red Devils should be looking forward to EURO 2016 as a perfect opportunity to win the country’s first silverware since the 1920 Olympics.
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However, football has been put on the back-burner in light of the recent terror attacks in Brussels. The small multicultural country has been divided, leaving the national team as a symbol of hope.
In his latest piece for NBC SportsWorld, our Joe Prince-Wright takes a look at the current situation in Belgium and what role sport can play in the healing process.
Wilmots’ team is made up of players who reflect Belgium’s multicultural society perfectly.
Kompany and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku are of Congolese heritage. Fellaini, Tottenham Hotspur’s Nacer Chadli and teen sensation Zakaria Bakkali are from Morocco. The father of Tottenham’s Moussa Dembele is from Mali.
The family of Liverpool striker Divock Origi is from Kenya. The father of Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Axel Witsel is from Martinique. Thomas Vermaelen speaks to the media in Flemish. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard speaks in French. Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne speaks Dutch, French and English. Fellaini can speak Arabic, French and English.
One thing links all of these players: they play for Belgium. They represent the nation they call home which is currently under attack from within.
Click on the link above to read JPW’s full piece, as it’s a must read.