Marc Wilmots is the former international footballer turned coach who will be leading Belgium’s national team against the United States in the Round of 16 World Cup match.
With an impressive record both on the field and the sidelines, Wilmots is one of the most respected coaches in the world. Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’s Belgium’s All-Time Top World Cup Scorer
Between the 1994, 1998, and 2002, World Cup’s, Wilmots scored 5 goals, making him the foremost goal scorer in Belgium’s World Cup history.
2. He’s Served in Belgium’s Senate
After an upsetting defeat in the 2002 World Cup, Marc Wilmots returned to Belgium to begin a vaguely unsuccessful political career. Wilmots was elected to Senate under the Mouvement Reformatuer party, a French-speaking liberal party. Wilmots believed then, as he does now, that the national soccer team is one of the few things keeping together a nation deeply divided by French and Dutch speakers.
He lasted only two years in the position.
3. He Demands More From His Players
The BBC reported on July 1, the day Belgium plays the USA in the Round of 16, that Wilmots is beginning to demand more of his players. The successful coach specifically spoke about 23-year-old Eden Hazard, a mid-fielder who won the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year award in 2013-2014.
Wilmot said of Hazard:
I think for the moment Eden wants to do more. He can do a lot for us, everyone knows that…Now I’m waiting to see it. It’s not a question of putting pressure on him as I know he’s under a lot of pressure. I’m waiting for him to take hold of a match and impose himself, even if he’s still young to be doing that.
4. Belgium Is Undefeated in the World Cup
Entering into the knockout round, Belgium has a lot of momentum. The Red Devils dominated group H, going undefeated in the group round. They won 1-0 against Korea, 1-0 against Russia, and 2-1 against Algeria.
5. The Winner of the USA-Belgium Game Will Face Argentina
The winner of Tuesday’s match between Belgium and the United States will go on to the quarterfinals to face Argentina, which beat Switzerland 1-0 earlier today.