Published On: Thu, Jun 7th, 2018

World Cup 2018: Belgium star Eden Hazard taunts England with ‘golden generation’ claim | Football | Sport

And the Chelsea and Belgium playmaker then couldn’t resist a dig at the former Three Lions ‘golden generation’ who failed to win a major trophy.

Hazard dazzled in the 3-0 win over Egypt on Wednesday for the 45 minutes he was on the pitch despite some brutal treatment.

And the 27-year-old forward is just one of a much-fancied Red Devils side that appear to be at the peak of their powers before their assignment in Russia.

England’s much-hyped squad of the ‘Noughties’, including Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes, were saddled with the ‘golden’ tag. But there was to be no silverware at either World Cups or European Championships.

And Hazard knows the whole of Belgium expects this year, with his world No3-ranked team packed with superstars from the Premier League and elsewhere.

Hazard may not yet have nailed his colours firmly to the mast at Stamford Bridge for next season, with intense speculation he could be lured away by Real Madrid or PSG.

But when it comes to his country, drawn with England, Tunisia and Panama in Group G, there is no doubt what he wants to happen.

“We know what we are. We are good players, we all play in the big games in England, in Italy and in Spain, so we know what to do,” he said.

“The golden generation thing – you have, 10 years or 15 years ago, this same golden generation in England, but you won nothing.

“Now the fans, journalists, all of Belgium, the country just want to win something. We have a golden generation, we just want to win something now. Maybe we can be different to England.

“Of course we are very excited about the World Cup, like always. We start the first game in 10 days, so we just want to be there and playing. We are in preparation, but we will be ready for the World Cup when it starts.”

Hazard admitted that like all the Premier League-based Belgians he has one eye firmly on the third and potentially decisive group clash with England on June 28.

He added: “The England game will be special of course because we know all the players. Especially I know Gaz, Gary Cahill. It will be good to play against friends. Almost all of the team play in England.

“Maybe in the past England would have been favourites, but now it is different. We are quite the same, it is 50-50. England have a lot of good players, and we also have good players.”

Hazard was a target for the Egypt hatchet-men on Wednesday but sporting the captain’s armband with Vincent Kompany injured, he bravely took it to his opponents.

“I get kicked a lot, I am used to that in England, it is something I know,” he said. “After two minutes I am in the game, I like to be kicked.

“And I enjoy being captain, of course. I am a leader on the pitch, but in the team we have a lot of players who can talk, they can say something.

“I am not the only captain, I try to do my best on the pitch, and be the leader on the pitch.”

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