The Belgians arrived with one of the best squads on paper, but their biggest success in Russia has been establishing strong collective values.
This may represent their most important asset simply because it has not always been present in the past. Nor has this Belgium team previously been famed for resilience, which they showed in bucket-loads against both Japan and Brazil. Their star individuals, including the magic trio of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, have stepped up when needed. But it’s also worth noting that the Red Devils have had nine different goalscorers in Russia. Everyone is playing their part.
Roberto Martinez, too, seems to be the right man at the right time, as he looks to have found a way to get the best from his collection of stars and bring them together as a unit. In this Belgian squad, everyone is fit to play and ready to make sacrifices on the pitch or, in some cases, to accept their status as substitutes and support their team-mates