Another opportunity for international silverware has passed for Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ after their UEFA Nations League exit.
Kevin De Bruyne has claimed Belgium don’t have the same array of talent as the biggest national teams to compete for top honors.
Despite topping the FIFA world rankings and boasting many formidable players – such as De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard etc – to form a ‘Golden Generation’, Belgium have been unable to convert this into silverware.
Roberto Martinez’s men have finished third in the 2018 World Cup, reached the quarter-final stage of Euro 2020, and ended up in fourth place over the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League in the last three years.
Now, as time begins to run out for the ‘Golden Generation’, De Bruyne has lamented a lack of squad depth after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Italy in the Nations League third-place play-off.
“We did well at times against some top teams and had many new faces who did more than a decent job today,” the Manchester City midfielder told HLN.
“It’s a good experience for them to play against opponents of this calibre, but unfortunately we lost twice. With all due respect, playing against Estonia is not the same thing and these challenges are necessary for us to grow, both as individuals and as a team.
De Bruyne added: “With all due respect, we are ‘just’ Belgium. It’s a new generation. We were missing Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard today, so we have to be realistic about the team we have. Italy, France and Spain have 22 top players to choose from and we do not.”
Belgium return to action on November 13 for a World Cup qualifier at home to Estonia.