Belgium have made it through to the World Cup semis for only the second time in their history, setting up a clash with neighbours France. Here’s my tribute to the side.
Five minutes of slackness, when Japan hammered a brace,
Red Devils lay on an operating table,
Red Trident stuck firmly in face.
Golden generation, beautiful football, hopes buried deep,
‘Pretenders’ were bowing out,
Promises, they could not keep.
Forty minutes left, countdown had begun,
Such tame meltdown, charged up Japan,
Bye, bye Belgium.
Roberto Martinez looked drained, odds against were huge,
The nation prayed for a miracle,
Rattled, the squad regrouped.
This was no ragtag bunch of boy toys, but a squadron playing a team sport,
There was still time, there was time yet,
Together we will take the ‘fort’.
Sustained efforts bore fruit, a lob-header looped into goal,
Vertonghen was the vessel through which belief poured,
Dugout sent tall Fellaini in, who headed a cross to level,
Relief poured in, self-belief was back,the team had displayed mettle!
Now every touch made sense, every pass materialised,
It looked ordained, normal time itself would suffice.
Courtois (goalie) rolled the ball to Kevin (de Bruyne), who ran the sprint of his life,
Sent a long pass to Thomas Munier, who waited on the right,
He crossed it in , and Oh! Romelo Lukaku missed,
Or did he, No ! the wily fox dummied it,
Chadli, running in from behind, stood unmarked,
A tap- in and it was a goal, magic spell was cast.
Kevin de Bruyne kicks the ball through the Portugal defence. (Photo by Peter Lous/Soccrates/Getty Images)
World was mesmerised, Japan left spellbound,
We saw verses of counterattack make rhyming sounds,
Intonations had grace, every syllable was in place,
Each touch, every pass, left the opponents in a daze.
Quarter final against Brazil was the prize earned,
Not a prospect the Pommies had yearned (for).
An own goal set the hapless Brazilians back,
The fear of tall Fellaini, lead to this kamikaze attack,
Still the Selecao didn’t surrender, kept their sorties up,
The defence of Devils somehow blunted this pluck.
A wall of giants nullified set piece chances,
What permeated through, Courtois neutralised those advances,
No rhymes here, these verses were blank,masculine,
This was the night when Witsel and Kompany would shine.
Lukaku ran on a counterattack, like a man possessed,
Ran frantically for half the field, ’til ‘false nine’ was in sight,
Passed Telstar to gambolling de Bruyne, who took the strike,
Kevin’s cleat rocket just bombarded the site,
Lukaku Promptly fell down as soon the ghost got exorcised,
Then rose up like a King to celebrate Belgium’s night.
Brazil tried and tried but were denied their chances galore,
No comeback was in store,no new folklore.
Next foe is France, and the semi will be tight,
But these Belgians are now spoiling for a fight,
Two wins to go before they lift the Trophy,
Red Devils have surely earned their right.
Verse poetry in counterattacks, blank verses when they defend,
The Cup is headed to Brussels, all omens do portend.
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