Marc Wilmots says a bright future awaits Belgium, but has admitted that they need time to fulfill their true capabilities.
The Belgians have Premier League stars such as Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini and Jan Vertonghen in their ranks, but Wilmots feels the less experienced players are not on top of their game just yet.
"This generation will shine at their brightest in the years to come, as they’re still young and can improve a lot," the Belgium manager told FIFA.com. "The likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Christian Benteke are only 20 years old and are not yet established regulars for their clubs.
"We have to be realistic and give them time. I’m not speaking for myself when I say that, because my life won’t change if I’m not here tomorrow. We’ve managed to build a group of 25 players who are moving forward, but it’s going to be tough all the way to the end [of the qualifying competition].
Even with all of that rising talent, Belgium failed to qualify for the Euro 2012 finals, putting pressure on Wilmots and his squad to reach the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Belgians face Serbia on Friday in a qualifying match.
"We need to treat our 10 remaining matches as cup finals if we are to qualify; we must stay humble and realize that it will all be decided in matches nine and 10," Wilmots said. "If we go through the playoffs, our experience as a team will be much better and so, too, will our chances of reaching Brazil."