Hazard inspired by World Cup stars

Byespn staff ESPN logo
Thursday, July 3, 2014

Eden Hazard has been inspired by the displays of Lionel Messi, Neymar and James Rodriguez at the 2014 World Cup and wants to be remembered alongside them as one of the stars of the tournament.

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Hazard, 23, only rates his own performances so far as "50-50" despite Belgium winning all three Group H games to set up a round of 16 tie with the U.S.

But he is keen to improve and believes his form will get better in the knockout rounds of the competition.

He told reporters: "I have looked at what the other stars have done and try to take as much inspiration from them as possible.

"Have I been impressed by Messi, Neymar and Rodriguez? Of course I have. Rodriguez played a great game against Uruguay. I know him because we played against Colombia and I watch the French league. In statistical terms he is the best player in the tournament.

"As for my tournament so far, I rate it at 50-50. I have been decisive for the group but, in terms of consistency, I can do better. I hope it will be the case from now on, but I know you will see the best Eden.

"Do I feel the pressure? No, it remains the same. I know there are a lot of people watching me but I will deal with that in the same way I approach all the other games -- and just make sure I give my best.

"I have no idea what people think of me and my performances in the tournament so far but I always try to give the maximum I can.

"I just want to be good so that our group can continue our adventure together. With the quality of players we have, we can dream."

Hazard also claimed the U.S. are a team that will try to intimidate him physically but said he will welcome that approach.

He added: "The U.S. are a very physical team but, if they foul me a lot, it means I am having a good day -- and I hope they do because it will mean we get lots of free-kicks and scoring opportunities."

Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois is aiming to extend his 20-match unbeaten run in goal for Belgium against the U.S.

He said: "I am in great shape but that is not the most important thing.

"I am trying to help the team and do my best so that my contribution is important. If I succeed in maintaining this record all the better."

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