If he has already indicated that he intends to play Euro 2024, Axel Witsel is probably living his 3rd and last World Cup, as he indicated on Sunday. The World Cup in Qatar will undoubtedly be the last major tournament for several representatives of the “golden generation” of the Red Devils.
“I maintain my idea of playing Euro 2024. For the next World Cup, I will be 37 years old. It’s not impossible, it depends on a lot of things, but I don’t think I’ll be there. I think this World Cup is the last.”Axel Witsel said on Sunday. “It’s the last World Cup for several players in the group”says the 33-year-old midfielder again. “We want to give it our all and enjoy every minute. Whatever happens, what matters is to give it our all and have no regrets”. The Belgian team is older, but also more experienced. “We’ve been working with the coach for six years, and some players have been playing together for even longer. We’ve been together for a while. It’s a point not to be overlooked when we haven’t had the time to prepare for the World Cup, that can be an advantage”says the former Golden Shoe, which totals 127 caps. “We have more experience than in 2018. Time will tell if we are more or less strong than in 2018. We had an extraordinary journey then, we were on top, both collectively and individually. Now we is more considered an outsider, and I think that makes sense. For me, Brazil are the big favourites. You can’t say we’re at that level.”.
The Devils are in the deep end and it looks like fun!
Axel Witsel esteems himself “also good” than eight years ago in Brazil. “I have another role, I play differently, more in a defensive midfield position, and I think I’m smarter than I was back then”advances the former Standardman, who says he has no preference for his midfield partners. “I get along just as well with Youri (Tielemans), Kevin (De Bruyne) as Hans (Vanaken), for example. Amadou Onana has an atypical profile, he reminds me of Maraouane Fellaini. need in this tournament. My role doesn’t really change, regardless of the players on my side.”.
The enthusiasm of the fans had accompanied the Devils in 2014, Belgium’s first major tournament since the 2002 World Cup, and four years ago. This time, the enthusiasm around the national team, and the World Cup in general, is no longer the same. “We normally experience it within the group”says Axel Witsel. “We just say to ourselves that it’s a shame to have all this negativity around us, but that’s life, that’s football. People have the right to have their opinion too”.
The Atletico Madrid midfielder says he doesn’t suffer too much from the heat. “In Spain, we also play in hot weather. Here, the stadiums are air-conditioned. The heat is therefore a factor that we should not pay too much attention to”. The Red Devils will enter the fray on Wednesday against Canada, whose stars are Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Jonathan David (Lille) or Tajon Buchanan (Club Bruges). “I expect a physical game. We will have to be careful not to leave spaces. We have the team to play a good game already, we want to start the tournament well”.