Thomas Buffel excited by resurgence of Belgium side
THOMAS Buffel, the former Rangers midfielder, admits that the strength of the current Belgium team excites him as his fellow countrymen prepare to face Scotland tomorrow night.
Belgium lead World Cup qualifying Group A following victories over Wales and Serbia and a draw with Croatia.
Buffel – capped 35 times – reckons his country now have a great chance to end a 12-year wait to reach a major finals.
The 31-year-old – who won the SPL with Rangers in 2005 during two-and-a-half years in Glasgow, said: “After the campaign in Japan in 2002, it was difficult to qualify for two or three tournaments but they just kept calm and tried to build a new team. Young talent came through but they didn’t have the experience. Now, we are a few years later and everything’s starting to click.”
An under-pressure Scotland team can expect to face the likes of Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Moussa Dembele, Eden Hazard and Kevin Mirallas tomorrow night, and Buffel added: “We have a lot of talent and even if we miss some players we can adapt and that’s a big advantage.
“They all play for big clubs and they are important players for these clubs as well. This generation is big and hopefully we can qualify for Brazil. Belgium have enough talented and skilful players who can change the game in seconds with an action or a combination and that’s a big advantage.”
Belgium will look to add to Scotland’s qualifying woe in Brussels tomorrow evening but Buffel who now plays in his homeland for Genk, insists Marc Wilmots’ side will not be getting carried away with their hugely encouraging start. He added: “Obviously they are confident but they keep calm and know that there are still a lot of games to play.
“It’s a really good start and we are very happy with this.
“How the squad reacted to a difficult start was great. To start with seven points from nine is really good.
However, he cautioned against complacency when facing the Scots “We still need to be alert” he warned.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West