Belgium national football team

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Belgium
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Rode Duivels
Diables Rouges
Rote Teufel
(Red Devils)
AssociationRoyal Belgian Football Association (KBVB/URBSFA)
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachMarc Wilmots[1][2]
Asst coachVital Borkelmans[3]
CaptainVincent Kompany[4]
Most capsJan Ceulemans (96)
Top scorerBernard Voorhoof (30)
Paul Van Himst (30)
Home stadiumKing Baudouin Stadium
FIFA codeBEL
FIFA ranking10 Steady
Highest FIFA ranking10 (July 2013, August 2013)
Lowest FIFA ranking71 (June 2007)
Elo ranking18
Highest Elo ranking2 (September 1920)
Lowest Elo ranking74 (September 2009)
First colours
Second colours
First international
Belgium Belgium 3–3 France 
(Brussels, Belgium; 1 May 1904)
Biggest win
Belgium Belgium 9–0 Zambia 
(Brussels, Belgium; 4 June 1994)
Belgium Belgium 10–1 San Marino 
(Brussels, Belgium; 28 February 2001)
Biggest defeat
England England Amateurs 11–2 Belgium Belgium
(London, England; 17 April 1909)[note 1]
World Cup
Appearances11 (First in 1930)
Best resultFourth place, 1986
European Championship
Appearances4 (First in 1972)
Best resultRunners-Up, 1980
 
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Belgium
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Rode Duivels
Diables Rouges
Rote Teufel
(Red Devils)
AssociationRoyal Belgian Football Association (KBVB/URBSFA)
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachMarc Wilmots[1][2]
Asst coachVital Borkelmans[3]
CaptainVincent Kompany[4]
Most capsJan Ceulemans (96)
Top scorerBernard Voorhoof (30)
Paul Van Himst (30)
Home stadiumKing Baudouin Stadium
FIFA codeBEL
FIFA ranking10 Steady
Highest FIFA ranking10 (July 2013, August 2013)
Lowest FIFA ranking71 (June 2007)
Elo ranking18
Highest Elo ranking2 (September 1920)
Lowest Elo ranking74 (September 2009)
First colours
Second colours
First international
Belgium Belgium 3–3 France 
(Brussels, Belgium; 1 May 1904)
Biggest win
Belgium Belgium 9–0 Zambia 
(Brussels, Belgium; 4 June 1994)
Belgium Belgium 10–1 San Marino 
(Brussels, Belgium; 28 February 2001)
Biggest defeat
England England Amateurs 11–2 Belgium Belgium
(London, England; 17 April 1909)[note 1]
World Cup
Appearances11 (First in 1930)
Best resultFourth place, 1986
European Championship
Appearances4 (First in 1972)
Best resultRunners-Up, 1980

The Belgium national football team (Dutch: Het Belgisch voetbalelftal; French: L'équipe de Belgique de football; German: Die Belgische Fußballnationalmannschaft) represents Belgium in association football and is controlled by the Royal Belgian Football Association, the governing body for football in Belgium. Belgium are the oldest national football team in continental Europe. Belgium's home stadium is the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels and Marc Wilmots is their national manager. He started as an assistant, but took over in May 2012 when Georges Leekens took the managerial position in Club Brugge.[1][5] They are nicknamed the Red Devils (Dutch: Rode Duivels, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈroː.də ˈdœy̯.vəɫs]; French: Diables Rouges; German: Rote Teufel).

The best achievements from Belgium in international tournaments so far were the qualification for six successive FIFA World Cups between 1982 and 2002 with as summum the fourth place in 1986, the title of European vice-champions in 1980 and the 1920 Olympic Football Gold Medal on home ground. Other notable prestations are their four victories over reigning world champions: 2–0 against West Germany in 1954, 5–1 against Brazil in 1963, 1–0 against Argentina in 1982 and 2–1 against France in 2002. As of August 2013, Belgium is the leader in its 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification group and has a good chance to reappear at the end stages of a major tournament after twelve years of absence.

History[edit source | edit]

The classical 2-3-5 team formations of Belgium (red) and France (white) at their debut in 1904
This section only covers a general overview of the team history; for more detailed tournament history, read further in section "Competitive record"; for Belgium's ongoing 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, read further in section "2014 FIFA World Cup qualification".

The early generations[edit source | edit]

Belgium played its first official game on May 1, 1904, against France; the incident-packed game ended in a 3–3 draw. This legendary first match for both teams at the Stade Vivier d'Oie ("Goose Pond Stadium") in Uccle, Belgium was attended by 1500 spectators, and the Evence Coppée trophy that would be handed out to the winner was logically not awarded.[6] Twenty days later, Belgium and France were among the seven FIFA founding fathers. Prior to the 3–3 draw against France, a Belgian selection played several matches, but the squad contained some English players, so these are not added to the caps. For example, Belgium beat Netherlands by 8–0 on April 28, 1901 with the help of some Englishmen.[7] It was then decided that Belgium would play twice a year against Netherlands beginning from 1905, generally once in Antwerp and once in Rotterdam (later Amsterdam). At that time, the national squad was chosen by a committee of representatives of the 6 or 7 main clubs.

Only two years after its formal birth, the team was nicknamed The Red Devils by journalist Pierre Walckiers after the achievement of three consecutive impressive victories in 1906: a 5–0 win versus France and 5–0 and 3–2 wins against the Netherlands.[8] The nickname stems from the fact that from the beginning and up until recently, the team's primary colours were all red.

In 1920, the Red Devils obtained the gold medal at the Olympics in home country, after a controversial final where their opponents Czechoslovakia left the pitch. While their results booked in the three Summer Olympics editions in the 1920s were still meritorious, during the three FIFA World Cup participations in the 1930s all matches ended in a defeat. Over the next four decades, Belgium established itself as a strong second-tier team, rarely in the running for winning a major tournament but never easy to handle at home or abroad. A key strength of the team was its systematic use of the offside trap, a defensive tactic developed in the 1960s at Anderlecht under French coach Pierre Sinibaldi.[9]

Golden period[edit source | edit]

Belgium's most successful period started when they finished second in the UEFA Euro 1980. The 1980s and early 1990s are generally considered the golden age of the national team. Under the lead of Guy Thys, who coached more than 100 official games, Belgium established a reputation of being a physical, well-organized team that was difficult to play against.

At that time (1982-2002), Belgium qualified for every FIFA World Cup, and in most World Cups they also made it to the second round. Apart from FIFA recognitions for individual players, the team as a collective reached the semifinals in 1986, where they were stopped by eventual world champions Argentina. While the World Cups of 1990 and 1994 were reached directly, Belgium had to go through play-off rounds to qualify for the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

The team's rigorous organization was reinforced by several world-class players such as goalkeepers Jean-Marie Pfaff and Michel Preud'homme, right-back Eric Gerets, midfielder Jan Ceulemans, playmaker Enzo Scifo and striker Luc Nilis. After the 2002 World Cup, several valuable players in their thirties retired from international football, such as Marc Wilmots and Gert Verheyen.

Belgian national football team in 2013, before a friendly in and against the United States. Back row left to right: Kompany, Dembélé, Fellaini, Lukaku, Vertonghen, Mignolet. Front row left to right: Mirallas, Alderweireld, De Bruyne, Defour, Vermaelen.

Recent hunger for new successes[edit source | edit]

After failing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1978, the contract of national coach Aimé Anthuenis was not renewed beyond 2005, and it was decided on December 22, 2005 that René Vandereycken would replace Anthuenis on January 1, 2006.[10] The performances of the team did not improve and Belgium slipped to an all-time low 71st position in the FIFA World Rankings in June 2007. After failing to qualify for Euro 2008 and a generally poor performance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which ended with Belgium getting knocked out, coach René Vandereycken was sacked on the 7th of April 2009.[11] After a 2–1 loss against Armenia on 9 September 2009, interim-coach Franky Vercauteren resigned and made way for new coach Dick Advocaat.[12][13] However, on 15 April 2010, after only six months at the helm, Advocaat resigned as manager of the Belgian national team amid speculation that he was to become coach of the Russian national team.[14] Georges Leekens was announced as the next manager of the Belgian national team on 11 May 2010, signing a contract until 2012.[15] Under Leekens, who was having his second stint as national manager, having previously managed the Red Devils from 1997 to 1999, the Red Devils failed to qualify for the Euro 2012. Leekens surprised in May 2012 when he left and signed for Club Brugge, stating his work was 90% completed.[5][16] Marc Wilmots was asked to replace Leekens and under his reign, the team performed better, rising to an all-time high of tenth on the FIFA World Rankings in July 2013.[17]

Home stadium[edit source | edit]

Belgium play most of their home matches in the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, offering place to 50093 spectators. The King Baudouin Stadium is a multifunctional stadium in which also athletic events and concerts are organised. Being inaugurated as Centenary Stadium in 1930 and renamed Heysel Stadium in 1946, it underwent a drastical transformation in 1995. From then on, the stadium was named after the late King Baudouin I. At this place, several matches from the UEFA European Championships from 1972 and 2000 were played. During the 1985 European Cup final in the disrepaired Heysel Stadium riots led to the tragic Heysel Stadium disaster, which cost the life to 39 people. In May 2013, it was announced that the current stadium would be demolished to create place for housing and that a new stadium would arise nearby at the Heysel.[18] At the beginning of July 2013 it was not yet decided whether this new stadium would also contain an athletic track as is currently the case.

Media coverage[edit source | edit]

As roughly 60% of the Belgians are Dutch-speakers (mostly Flemings), and about 40% are French-speakers (mostly Walloons), the matches of the Belgian national football team are broadcast both in Dutch and in French. Up to 1994 the matches have purely been a public broadcasting issue (on the former BRTN in Dutch and on the RTBF in French) but from 1994 on from time to time also commercial channels have been purchasing the emission rights (such as vtm with sister channel Kanaal 2 in Flanders). During the qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup, in Flanders the home qualifiers are broadcast by the public broadcast VRT and the away qualifiers by the commercial broadcasting company VIER, whereas the friendly against the United States in May 2013 was emitted by vtm.[19][20] The 2014 World Cup itself as well as the qualifiers for the 2016 European and the 2018 World Championships will exclusively be broadcast by the public companies VRT and RTBF.[21]

Colours[edit source | edit]

The Belgian tricolore flag

Traditionally the squad of Belgium plays at home entirely in colours of the Belgian tricolore, with predominantly red (at minimum the home jerseys have always been red). This explains the very commonly used nickname Red Devils. The away kits have either been mostly white, either mainly black, usually finished with tricolores at the margins of the jerseys, shorts and/or socks. In the respective away outfits the players have sometimes been called White Devils or Black Devils, but nowadays Black Devils is the nickname of the Belgium national rugby union team. From the 1980s on, the lion crest was changed to the tricolore association badge and occasionally additional patterns were introduced. In 2012 in a yearly election for football shirt design held by a Belgian and Dutch jury, out of all club and national jerseys at that time the away shirt from Belgium (worn in the qualifiers of the 2014 FIFA World Cup) was mostly preferred.[22]

Belgium has had at least six official kit sponsors: Umbro's logo can be found on jerseys from the early 1970s, Adidas was the latest manufacturer of the historical lion crest, and after a short contract with Admiral during the qualifiers for the 1982 World Cup and the World Cup itself, Belgium switched back to Adidas, who would produce the team's sportswear during the next three World Cups. In the 1990s, Belgium had three clothing sponsors: after first having changed to Diadora for two World Cups, medio 1999 the next sponsor became Nike.[23] Since June 2010 and up till today, the kit sponsor is the young Swiss-Qatari sports brand BURRDA.[24]

Kit history[edit source | edit]

PeriodKit Sponsor
1970/72 - 1975/76United Kingdom Umbro
1977/78 - 1980/81Germany Adidas
1980/81 - 1982/83United Kingdom Admiral
1982/83 - 1992/93Germany Adidas
1992/93 - 1999Italy Diadora
1999 - 2010United States Nike
2010 - TodaySwitzerland/Qatar BURRDA
HistoricalFirst kitEvolutionCurrent kit
Home
Home (alt.)
Away
Away (alt.)
(1904) Home
(2013) Home
(2013) Away

Red Devils' home kits at European and World Championships[25]

Walter Meeuws, ex-international and former Belgium manager, in the uniform typical for the 1982 World Cup qualifiers and end stage
WC 1930
WC 1934, '38, '54
WC 1970, EC 1972
EC 1980
WC 1982
EC 1984
WC 1986
WC 1990
WC 1994
WC 1998
EC 2000
WC 2002

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification[edit source | edit]

Belgium defending against a Serbian corner in an away match during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

In the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, Belgium is one of the six teams in UEFA Group A. The group winner qualifies directly for the World Cup. If the runner-up is among the eight best UEFA runners-up (out of nine) this team advances to the two-legged UEFA play-offs.[26]

In July 2011, Belgium was drawn against the (as of July 2011) higher FIFA-ranked Balkan teams Croatia and Serbia, and lower ranked teams Scotland, Macedonia and Wales.[26] In the away opener versus Wales in September 2012, Belgium achieved an encouraging 0–2 victory, with both goals from set pieces. Four days later, they tied at home against group favourites Croatia (1–1). In their next four matchdays, Croatia and Belgium kept pace with each other, winning their four games. On their seventh matchday, Belgium took the group lead as they won at home from Serbia by 2–1 while Croatia suffered a surprising home defeat against Scotland (0–1). In that home match against Serbia, captain Vincent Kompany played 60 minutes with a broken nose, mild concussion and fractured eye socket after an unfortunate hit by goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković.[27] With three matches to go, both Belgium and Croatia can still win the group and Belgium has assured itself of minimally the second spot, that would likely lead to a play-off ticket. Over the first seven qualifiers, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois conceded only two goals and Kevin De Bruyne was the Belgian topscorer with three hitters.

Updated on 20 July 2013.


Team
PldWDLGFGAGDPts
 Belgium7610132+1119
 Croatia7511104+616
 Serbia72149907
 Wales6204614−86
 Scotland712449−55
 Macedonia611437−44
 BelgiumCroatiaRepublic of MacedoniaScotlandSerbiaWales
Belgium 1–11–02–02–115 Oct
Croatia 11 Oct1–00–12–02–0
Macedonia 0–21–210 Sep1–06 Sep
Scotland 6 Sep15 Oct1–10–01–2
Serbia 0–36 Sep15 Oct2–06–1
Wales 0–21–211 Oct2–110 Sep
  Team has qualified
  Team is assured of at least play-off place
  Team is assured of at least second place
  Team cannot qualify directly
  Team has no chance to qualify

Coaching staff[edit source | edit]

[1][2][3][28][29][30]

Former Belgium wingback and current assistant-coach Vital Borkelmans
ManagerBelgium Marc Wilmots
Assistant managerBelgium Vital Borkelmans
Goalkeeping coachBelgium Erwin Lemmens
Fitness coachBelgium Erik Roex
AnalystBelgium Herman De Landtsheer
MasseurBelgium Dirk Nachtergaele
Belgium Johan Demecheleer
PhysiotherapistBelgium Lieven Maesschalck
Belgium Bernard Vandevelde
Belgium Geert Neyrinck
Team doctorBelgium Dr. Kris Van Crombrugge
Other backroom staffBelgium Nicolas Cornu
Belgium Piet Erauw

Squad[edit source | edit]

Current squad[edit source | edit]

The following players are the squad who were named for the friendly match against France on 14 August 2013.[31][32]

Caps and goals are correct as of 14 August 2013 after Belgium-France.

0#0Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClub
11GKSimon Mignolet(1988-08-06) 6 August 1988 (age 25)130England Liverpool
121GKThibaut Courtois(1992-05-11) 11 May 1992 (age 21)110Spain Atlético Madrid
211GKKoen Casteels(1992-06-25) 25 June 1992 (age 21)00Germany Hoffenheim
22DFToby Alderweireld(1989-03-02) 2 March 1989 (age 24)260Netherlands Ajax
32DFVincent Kompany[note 2] (captain)(1986-04-10) 10 April 1986 (age 27)564England Manchester City
42DFDaniel Van Buyten (vice-captain)(1978-02-07) 7 February 1978 (age 35)7210Germany Bayern Munich
52DFNicolas Lombaerts(1985-03-20) 20 March 1985 (age 28)222Russia Zenit Saint Petersburg
132DFLaurent Ciman(1985-08-05) 5 August 1985 (age 28)80Belgium Standard Liège
152DFSébastien Pocognoli(1987-08-01) 1 August 1987 (age 26)100Germany Hannover 96
172DFGuillaume Gillet(1984-03-09) 9 March 1984 (age 29)201Belgium Anderlecht
192DFJelle Van Damme(1983-10-10) 10 October 1983 (age 29)310Belgium Standard Liège
2DFJan Vertonghen[note 3](1987-04-24) 24 April 1987 (age 26)494England Tottenham Hotspur
63MFAxel Witsel(1989-01-12) 12 January 1989 (age 24)405Russia Zenit Saint Petersburg
73MFKevin De Bruyne[note 4](1991-06-28) 28 June 1991 (age 22)143England Chelsea
83MFMarouane Fellaini(1987-11-22) 22 November 1987 (age 25)437England Everton
103MFEden Hazard(1991-01-07) 7 January 1991 (age 22)385England Chelsea
163MFSteven Defour(1988-04-15) 15 April 1988 (age 25)381Portugal Porto
183MFMousa Dembélé(1987-07-16) 16 July 1987 (age 26)505England Tottenham Hotspur
223MFNacer Chadli(1989-10-02) 2 October 1989 (age 23)152England Tottenham Hotspur
233MFTimmy Simons(1976-12-11) 11 December 1976 (age 36)936Belgium Club Brugge
94FWRomelu Lukaku(1993-05-13) 13 May 1993 (age 20)223England Chelsea
114FWKevin Mirallas(1987-10-05) 5 October 1987 (age 25)377England Everton
144FWDries Mertens(1987-05-06) 6 May 1987 (age 26)202Italy Napoli
204FWChristian Benteke(1990-12-03) 3 December 1990 (age 22)156England Aston Villa
4FWZakaria Bakkali[note 5](1996-01-26) 26 January 1996 (age 17)00Netherlands PSV

Recent call-ups[edit source | edit]

The following players have been called up for the team in the last twelve months.

Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)CapsGoalsClubLatest call-up
GKThomas Kaminski(1992-10-23) 23 October 1992 (age 20)00Belgium Anderlechtv.  United States, 29 May 2013
GKJean-François Gillet(1979-05-31) 31 May 1979 (age 34)90Italy Torinov.  Serbia, 7 June 2013
DFThomas Vermaelen(1985-11-14) 14 November 1985 (age 27)431England Arsenalv.  United States, 29 May 2013
DFLaurens De Bock(1992-11-07) 7 November 1992 (age 20)00Belgium Club Bruggev.  Romania, 14 November 2012
MFThorgan Hazard(1993-03-29) 29 March 1993 (age 20)10Belgium Zulte Waregemv.  United States, 29 May 2013
MFThomas Buffel(1981-02-19) 19 February 1981 (age 32)366Belgium Racing Genkv.  Slovakia, 6 February 2013
MFRadja Nainggolan(1988-05-04) 4 May 1988 (age 25)40Italy Cagliariv.  Slovakia, 6 February 2013
MFJonathan Blondel(1984-04-03) 3 April 1984 (age 29)40Belgium Club Bruggev.  Wales, 7 September 2012
FWJelle Vossen(1989-03-22) 22 March 1989 (age 24)112Belgium Racing Genkv.  Serbia, 7 June 2013
FWMaxime Lestienne(1992-06-17) 17 June 1992 (age 21)00Belgium Club Bruggev.  United States, 29 May 2013
FWIgor de Camargo(1983-05-12) 12 May 1983 (age 30)90Belgium Standard Liègev.  Romania, 14 November 2012
FWIlombe Mboyo(1987-04-27) 27 April 1987 (age 26)20Belgium Racing Genkv.  Romania, 14 November 2012
FWBenjamin De Ceulaer(1983-12-19) 19 December 1983 (age 29)00Belgium Racing Genkv.  Croatia, 11 September 2012

Previous squads[edit source | edit]

FIFA World Cup squads
UEFA European Football Championship squads
Summer Olympic Games squads

Competitive record[edit source | edit]

FIFA World Cup[edit source | edit]

In their golden era, Belgium featured two goalkeepers who were named the best at that position in the World Cup; Jean-Marie Pfaff (left) in 1986 and Michel Preud'homme (right) in 1994.

Belgium reached six successive World Cups from 1982 through 2002 by playing qualification rounds, a record bettered only by Spain whose 2010 World Cup was their seventh consecutive qualification (a streak going back to 1986). The Belgian team reached the knockout phase five out of six times from 1982 to 2002, including a streak of four tournaments. One of their most famous victories was a 1–0 win over defending champions Argentina, in the first game of the 1982 FIFA World Cup held at Camp Nou with a goal by Erwin Vandenbergh. After pushing through to the second group stage of that tournament, Belgium was stunned by a Polish hat-trick from Zbigniew Boniek. The decisive match against the Soviet Union ended in a 0–1 loss.

Four years later they achieved their best-ever World Cup run in 1986 when they placed fourth under command of players like Jan Ceulemans, Eric Gerets and Jean-Marie Pfaff. Belgium surprisingly won against favourites Soviet Union with stars such as Igor Belanov and Rinat Dasayev (3–4) after extra time. Different from the previous World Cup, the Red Devils were able to surmount an opponents' hat-trick (this time from Belanov), something that only Brazil and Austria achieved as well in World Cup history (respectively in 1938 and 1954).[33] Belgium also beat Spain on penalties, but they lost to eventual champions Argentina in the semifinal (0–2). In the third-place match Belgium lost to France (2–4) after extra time. Captain and midfielder Jan Ceulemans and goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff were the first Belgian players to be selected in the All-Star Team of a World Cup. Enzo Scifo was elected as best young player of the tournament.

In the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Belgium survived the group phase by wins against South Korea and Uruguay (2–0 and 3–1). In the second round they did well against England, dominating the match by periods and with Enzo Scifo even hitting the woodwork twice.[34] With a persisting 0–0 penalties seemed unavoidable, but eventually they lost in the last minute of extra time after a goal by David Platt. Enzo Scifo was elected as second best player of the 1990 World Cup after Lothar Matthäus.[35]

In the 1994 FIFA World Cup two 1–0 wins in round 1 against Morocco and the Netherlands were remarkably not enough to finish second, but Belgium advanced as they were among the best four third-placed teams. In the second round they lost to title defenders Germany (3–2). Michel Preud'homme was elected as best goalkeeper of the tournament and he was selected in the All-Star Team.

In 1998 Belgium was one of only two teams, together with hosts and eventual world champions France not to lose a single game. Three draws in the first round – against Netherlands, Mexico and South Korea – proved not enough to reach the knockout stage. In 1998 Enzo Scifo and Franky Van Der Elst appeared in their fourth World Cups, setting a Belgian record.

With two ties, the 2002 FIFA World Cup did not start well for Belgium, but the team improved during the tournament. Captain Marc Wilmots was notable for scoring in every match of the first round. Belgium won the decisive group match against Russia with 3–2 and in the second round they had to play against eventual champions Brazil. To the surprise of the Brazilians themselves, referee Peter Prendergast disallowed a goal by Marc Wilmots that would have given Belgium a 1–0 lead. Eventually Brazil won 2–0, but Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admitted after this match that Belgium was a tough edge and after the tournament he declared that the match against the Red Devils had been the hardest for Brazil to win.[36] The team did win the tournament's fair-play award. With the World Cup final still to go, Belgium became the second country in eight editions to win this trophy without ever having been World Cup champions (after Peru in 1970).[37] Marc Wilmots equalled the record of Enzo Scifo and Franky Van Der Elst by appearing in 4 World Cup squads, although he didn't play in his first World Cup in 1990. Wilmots also scored his 5th World Cup goal against Russia, which made him Belgium's top scorer in World Cup Finals matches.

     Champions       Runners-up       Third place       Fourth place

Images of Belgium's first ever match on a World Cup in Uruguay 1930, the earliest World Cup. Belgium disappointingly lost to the Americans by a 3-0 defeat.
Line-ups for the 1986 World Cup semifinal between Belgium (red) and eventual World Champions Argentina (blue-white). The respective coaches were Guy Thys and Carlos Bilardo.
FIFA World Cup RecordFIFA World Cup Qualification Record
YearRoundPositionPldWD*LGFGAPldWD*LGFGA
Uruguay 1930Round 111th200204Qualified as invitees
Italy 1934Round 115th100125201168
France 1938Round 113th100113211043
Brazil 1950Withdrew
Switzerland 1954Group Stage12th2011584310116
Sweden 1958Did Not Qualify42111611
Chile 19624004310
England 19665302125
Mexico 1970Group Stage10th3102456411148
West Germany 1974Did Not Qualify6420120
Argentina 1978630376
Spain 1982Round 210th5212358512129
Mexico 1986Fourth Place4th72231215842295
Italy 1990Round of 1611th4202648440155
United States 1994Round of 1611th42024410712165
France 1998Group Stage19th303033107122313
South Korea/Japan 2002Round of 1614th41216710721276
Germany 2006Did Not Qualify103341611
South Africa 2010103161320
Brazil 2014Qualification In Progress7610132
Russia 2018To Be Determined
Qatar 2022
TotalBest: Fourth Place11/1936109174663120662331229133
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.

European Championship[edit source | edit]

Belgium's performance in the European Championship does not match its World Cup record. The best result is no doubt the unexpected second place at the 1980 edition in Italy. After finishing first in the group phase, before football nations Italy, England and Spain, Belgium stood in the final against West Germany. After the German opener from Horst Hrubesch and the penalty equalizer from René Vandereycken, the match seemed to go in extra time. Two minutes before the end of the regular playing time, Hrubesch's second goal ended the Belgian dream of winning a first major (non-Olympic) tournament.

Belgium hosted or co-hosted the event twice, finishing third in 1972 (when they were chosen amongst the four semi-finalists to host the event) and being one of the major disappointments of the 2000 edition with a first-round exit. This early exit was fairly unexpected since during the eight preparational friendlies for Euro 2000 under Robert Waseige Belgium played well, winning three times convincingly and losing only once (2-1 against England). At Euro 2000, Belgium first won against Sweden with 2–1 via goals from Bart Goor in the 43rd minute and Émile Mpenza in the 46th minute against Sweden's one by Johan Mjallby in the 53rd minute after a terrible error of goalkeeper Filip De Wilde. In the second match, Belgium lost 2–0 against the eventual tournament's runners-up Italy by a header from Francesco Totti in the 5th minute and Stefano Fiore's Goal of the Tournament (according to Britain's Match of the Day) in the 66th minute.[38] In the crucial match where Belgium needed one more point to move ahead to the quarter-finals, they lost 2–0 against Turkey (two goals from Hakan Şükür in the 45th after another error of goalkeeper Filip De Wilde, and 70th minute). In the 83rd minute of that last group match, Filip De Wilde even ended his Euro 2000, being sent off for attacking Arif Erdem outside the penalty area.

     Champions       Runners-up       Third place       Fourth place

Line-ups for the UEFA Euro 1980 Final in which Belgium (red) faced the European vice-champion West Germany (white). The respective coaches were Guy Thys and Jupp Derwall.
UEFA European Championship RecordUEFA European Championship Qualification Record
YearRoundPositionPldWD*LGFGAPldWD*LGFGA
France 1960Did Not Enter
Spain 1964Did Not Qualify200224
Italy 19686312149
Belgium 1972Third Place3rd2101338521134
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1976Did Not Qualify8323710
Italy 1980Runners-Up2nd4121448440125
France 1984Group Stage6th3102486411128
West Germany 1988Did Not Qualify8332168
Sweden 1992621376
England 1996104331713
Belgium/Netherlands 2000Group Stage12th310225Qualified as hosts[note 6]
Portugal 2004Did Not Qualify8512119
Austria Switzerland 2008145361416
Poland Ukraine 2012104332115
France 2016To Be Determined
Europe 2020
TotalBest: Runners-Up4/1312426132094422428146107
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Summer Olympics[edit source | edit]

The Belgium national football team participated in all three editions of the Summer Olympics in the 1920s and won the Olympic Gold Medal on home soil in 1920. Belgium won their first two games (3–1 versus Spain and 3–0 against the Netherlands) and took a 2–0 lead in the final against Czechoslovakia. After the expulsion of the Czechoslovak left-back Karel Steiner, the discontented visiting players left the pitch. Afterwards, the Czechoslovak team reported their reasons for protest to the Olympic organisation. These protests were dismissed and the Czechoslovaks got disqualified.

Remark: only in six Summer Olympics editions between 1908 and 1936, Olympic football tournaments for proper men's national football teams had place (without age limitations). In the table below, however, all results from Belgian football squads at the Summer Olympic Games are enlisted. Olympic Summer Games editions where no actual national football teams competed are indicated in italics.

     Gold       Silver       Bronze       Fourth place

In 1920, Belgium's football team won the gold medal at home, at the Olympic Stadium in Antwerp.
In 1900, Belgium was not represented by a selection of nation's best football players, but by the university team of Université de Bruxelles.
Summer Olympics Record
YearRoundPldWD*LGFGA
Greece Athens 1896No football competition took place
France Paris 1900Third Place**100126
United States St. Louis 1904As in 1900 played between clubs
United Kingdom London 1908Did Not Qualify
Sweden Stockholm 1912
Belgium Antwerp 1920Winners330081
France Paris 1924Round 2100118
Netherlands Amsterdam 1928Quarter-Finals3102912
United States Los Angeles 1932No football competition took place
Nazi Germany Berlin 1936Did Not Qualify
United Kingdom London 1948From the 1948 till 1988 Olympic Games, amateur selections played
Finland Helsinki 1952
Australia/Sweden Melbourne 1956
Italy Rome 1960
Japan Tokio 1964
Mexico Mexico 1968
Germany Munich 1972
Canada Montreal 1976
Soviet Union Moscow 1980
United States Los Angeles 1984
South Korea Seoul 1988
Spain Barcelona 1992Did Not Qualify***
United States Atlanta 1996
Australia Sydney 2000
Greece Athens 2004
China Beijing 2008Fourth Place***6303710
United Kingdom London 2012Did Not Qualify***
Brazil Rio de Janeiro 2016To Be Determined***
Total5/25, 1 title147072737
*Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**In 1900, Belgium was represented by the university football team of Université de Bruxelles.
***Football at the Summer Olympics has been an under-23 tournament since 1992.
****Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Minor tournaments[edit source | edit]

     Winners       Runners-up       Third place

Minor Tournaments Record
YearRoundPosPldWD*LGFGA
Belgium 1904 Evence Coppée Trophy[6]Winners (shared), Single Game1st101033
Morocco 1998 King Hassan II TournamentGroup Stage4th201101
Cyprus 1999 Cyprus Tournament[40]Runners-Up, Group Stage2nd210111
Japan 1999 Kirin CupWinners (shared), Group Stage1st202011
Japan 2009 Kirin CupRunners-Up (shared), Group Stage2nd201115
Total2 titles9153611
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Honours[edit source | edit]

One of the (identical) gold medals awarded at the 154 sporting events of the 1920 Summer Olympics

Major honours[edit source | edit]

W.Cup.svg FIFA World Cup
Fourth place (1): 1986
UEFA European Cup.svg UEFA European Championship
Runners-up (1): 1980
Third place (1): 1972
Gold medal.svg Olympic football tournament
Gold Medal 1 (1): 1920
Third place 3 (1): 1900 (no medals were awarded yet) (represented by team of Université de Bruxelles)
Fourth place (1): 2008 (in fact a U-23 tournament)

Minor honours[edit source | edit]

Winners (1): 1999 (shared with Peru)
Runners-up (1): 2009 (shared with Chile)
Winners (shared with France)
Runners-up (1): 1999

Other honours[edit source | edit]

Winners (1): 2002

Recent results and forthcoming fixtures[edit source | edit]

2012[edit source | edit]

2013[edit source | edit]

Supporters and popularity[edit source | edit]

Without any doubt, the most beautiful moment for the Red Devils and their fans was in the summer of 1986, when a joyous entrance had place for the Belgian delegation that became fourth at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. The Grand Place of Brussels was captured by a human mass that cheered to their World Cup semifinalists appearing on the Town Hall balcony, as if just a major tournament was won. Contrary to the Scottish "Tartan Army" and the Danish "Roligans" the supporters of the Red Devils have not earned themselves a nickname yet. But, recently in 2012 the supporters joined their forces by bringing under the local fan clubs under one large Belgian supporters' federation, named 1895 (after the year of erection of the Royal Belgian Football Association). Shortly after the first anniversary of 1895, over 24,000 members had joined the federation.[44] Just like the national team the Belgian supporters manifest themselves with the Belgian tricolore, usually with emphasis on red.

After the six uninterrupted qualifications for the World Cup between 1982 and 2002, abruptly the end stages of the following two World Cups were not reached, neither those of the European Championships preceding and following these World Cups. Despite the efforts, between 2004 and 2010 several journalists and even player Steven Defour described the Belgian footballing nation as being "(deadly) sick".[45][46][47] This severely strained the popularity of the national squad. Some fans kept supporting their team in good and bad days, and the most faithful and notorious one is probably Ludo Rollenberg. This man assisted the matches of the Red Devils in the entire world since 1990, only having missed Belgium at the Japanese Kirin Cup in 1999 and two other matches by 2006.[48] In 2009, he even made the displacement to Armenia as only supporter.[49] In 2008, hope surged when a young (U-23) Belgian generation acquired the fourth place in Beijing. Several of these players would later appear in the Belgium national football team. Even though the World Cup of 2010 and in extremis the Euro 2012 play-offs were not reached, the popularity and belief in an upcoming major tournament kept rising.

During the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil the bound with the supporters was further strengthened by means of great actions, the so-called "Devil Challenges". These implied that small groups of internationals would do a favour in return for each of the five comprehensive tasks that their supporters succeeded in executing ("colour Belgium red", "gather 500,000 decibels", "create 1000 King Baudouin Stadiums", "a King Baudouin Stadium full of children's drawings" and "fill one compartment of the King Baudouin Stadium with fanatic female fans").[50] All five challenges were convincingly accomplished.[51] At the end of August, the Red Devils launched a sixth Challenge: "Support our supporters in Scotland" (during the eighth 2014 World Cup qualifier).[52] The 2nd of June 2013 the Red Devils held their first Fan Day ever, in the King Baudouin Stadium. Over 20,000 supporters showed up to catch a glimpse of their idols.[53] Five days later just before the World Cup qualifier against Serbia, for the first time the players would see a tifo, measuring 10.5m x 11.5m and depicting a devil composed of the national colours.[54] The many players appearing in a foreign high-level football league (e.g., as of July 2013 twelve Devils would play the next season in the English Premier League), promising qualification results under Marc Wilmots and foreign optimistic forecasts - either genuine or mockery - only increased the enthusiasm and belief in qualification for the 2014 World Cup and a good performance in Brazil.[55][56][57] In spite of the existing euphoria, after the 7th qualifier coach Marc Wilmots and players like Kevin De Bruyne warned that the Red Devils are not in Brazil yet.[58]

A multicultural squad[edit source | edit]

During the 20th century Belgium has known a lot of immigration, largely related to its historical colonial bounds with Central Africa, invited work forces from mainly Southern Italy, Turkey and Morocco from the 1950s on, and its central position as relatively small country in Western Europe. This also became reflected in the appearance of the Belgium football squad.

In August 2013, Kevin De Bruyne (left) and Axel Witsel (right) were only two out of six Red Devils with one Belgian and one non-Belgian parent.

While in the 1994 World Cup the entire Belgian delegation was still "white" (Caucasian), in 2013 this was obviously no longer the case. Indeed, out of the 25 players that were called up for the friendly against France on 14 August 2013, as many as 11 players had at least one non-Belgian parent. It is a misconception that many players of the current Belgium football team would be Belgian because of naturalization, or that many of them would not be born and raised in Belgium. Not less than six of the concerning players are the son of one Belgian and one foreign parent. These are the central defenders Daniel Van Buyten (German mother) and Vincent Kompany (Congolese father), midfielders Kevin De Bruyne (English mother), Axel Witsel (father from the French island Martinique), Mousa Dembélé (Malinese father), and forward Kevin Mirallas (Spanish father).[59][60][61][62][63][64] Romelu Lukaku's parents are Congolese and those of Nacer Chadli, Marouane Fellaini and Zakaria Bakkali are Moroccan, but all four of them are born and raised in Belgium.[65][66][67][68] It is not certain whether Sébastien Pocognoli's parents carry the Italian and/or Belgian nationality, but all his grandparents are Italian.[69] Only Christian Benteke at the same time has purely foreign roots (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and was not born in Belgium. After his birth, he and his family fled from Zaire (Belgium's former colony Belgian Congo and the current Democratic Republic of the Congo), during the Mobutu regime.[70]

Already in 1984, a Belgian player with purely foreign roots appeared in the Belgian team : Vincenzo "Enzo" Scifo was born in Belgium as son of Sicilian immigrants and built up a football career as playmaker.[71][72] In 1987, the in Belgium born striker Dimitri Mbuyu with Congolese parents became the first black player to represent Belgium.[71][73] In the 1990s, some Red Devils with foreign origin were naturalized after having stayed multiple years in Belgium; these are Josip Weber, Branko Strupar (both of Croatian origin) and Luís Oliveira (Brazilian), all of which were positioned as strikers.[74][75][76] Josip Weber played as first naturalized Belgian at a major international tournament, in 1994. At the 1998 World Cup, together with Luís Oliveira the brothers Émile and Mbo Mpenza (with Congolese parents, though Émile was born in Belgium) became the first non-Caucasian players to represent Belgium in a major tournament.

The mixed Belgium squad has been a grateful example for anti-racism campaigns and has also been the object of humour and scepticism. In 2010, the home Euro 2012 qualifier against Austria stood in the theme of "respect for diversity". This action was supported by the UEFA and made part of the European Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) Action Week.[77] Because of the considerable ethnic variation in the current squad, a humouristic alternative for the national Black-Yellow-Red tricolour became the alliteration Black-Blanc-Beur (meaning "Black-White-Arab(ic)"), after the nickname for the victorious French team in the 1998 World Cup.[78][79] To conclude, even though Belgium's motto is "Unity makes strength", this does not mean that the current Belgian population - including its football players - all share the same language (Dutch, French and German are Belgium's three official languages) neither the same race.

Charity support[edit source | edit]

In the summer of 1986, when the Belgian delegation reached the semifinals of the World Cup in Mexico, the football team started the project Casa Hogar under impulse of delegation responsible Dr. Michel D'Hooghe. This is a home for street children in the industrial Mexican city Toluca, to which the football players donated part of their tournament bonuses. During 25 years, the Belgian Football Association stayed committed with this project and helped 500 children to meals and education. In 2011, Casa Hogar came in hands of the city council of Toluca.[80] In August 2013, the national team supported the social charity fund "Football+ Foundation" by playing with a plus sign on the shoulders of their jerseys during their match against France, and by afterwards auctioning these shirts in favour of this fund.[81]

Rivalries[edit source | edit]

The Belgian national football team before the first (unofficial) Derby of the Low Countries in 1901.

More than with any other of the four surrounding countries, Belgium maintains an outspoken sportive rivalry with the Netherlands, not in the least at the level of association football. This can mainly be explained by the long common history of both countries (they have been together in the Seventeen Provinces and as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands), the similar country sizes and in this case also their shared longlasting passion for football. Taking this into account, one could say that the Red Devils and Oranje are ideal football sparring partners. International sport contests between Belgium and the Netherlands, typically football matches, are also referred to as Derbies of the Low Countries. As the countries maintain good relations these duels are not covered in a hostile atmosphere, but even in the friendly matches the mood is generally very tense.

Already as early as in 1901 a first (unofficial) match had place, where the Belgian team featured some Englishmen. Belgium won this home game by 8–0.[7] After two more unofficial matches, Oranje won the first official match in 1905 with a 1–4 away win after extra time. One year later, also Belgium achieved its first official win in a Derby (5–0). Belgium and the Netherlands have been defending their honour in many matches, both friendly and competitive ones, for a total of 125 official Derbies. Between 1972 and 1985, Belgium and the Netherlands encountered each other in not less than 10 qualification matches for European and World Championships. Apart from Belgium having qualified for three more World Cups than the Netherlands up to 1970 and the better Belgian tournament performances in 1972, 1980, 1986, and 2002, the Dutch football players have been more successful at the international stage, as reflected by their European title and three World Cup final appearances. Because of this, from the seventies onwards the Dutch were mostly perceived as favourites. Even a tie game could be regarded as a moral victory for the Belgian squad. In direct confrontations, however, the performances from both Low Countries have been more balanced: Oranje won 55 duels, the Red Devils 41. As of June 2013, the last Dutch victory dated from 1997 (3–1) and the last Belgian win from 2012 (4–2).

Apart from this never-ending sportive struggle, the Belgian and Dutch federations have also put the hands together in last decades for different initiatives. At the international level they organized Euro 2000 and (unfruitfully) made a bid to organize the 2018 World Cup (the Holland Belgium Bid). At club level in women's football, the competitions from both football nations even merged as BeNe League in 2012. A similar club league for men's football has already been considered, yet without practical implementations. In 2012, the Belgian Pro League president Ronny Verhelst proclaimed a male BeNe League could start "in 3 or 4 years, if everyone is convinced".[82]

In books and popular culture[edit source | edit]

Italian-born Rocco Granata sung "Mondiale, pintje halen!" for the 1990 Italy World Cup.

Next to the existence of supporters' clubs, fansites and social networking webpages to share the passion, and the sale of several supporters' items to encourage the national team, other products have been dedicated to the Red Devils. These include books, a film, comic books and songs. Whether or not with commercial purposes, what most of them share is that they either look forward to an upcoming World Cup or European Championship, or that they look back to the experiences of past major tournaments.

Managers[edit source | edit]

Before 1910, a committee of the Belgian Federation selected the players. Initially being supervised by foreigners, it would last until 1930 before team Belgium was officially led by a Belgian (Hector Goetinck). The function of the national manager varied over time; for instance, during the 10 years that Constant Vanden Stock selected the players, the Red Devils were consecutively trained by Viktor Havlicek (1958-1960), Henri Dekens (1960-1961), Arthur Ceuleers (1961-1965) and Raymond Goethals (1966-1968). As of August 2013, the current coach Marc Wilmots is the most successful manager that Belgium has ever had, with an average of 2.14 points per match. Before him, the statistically best manager was Raymond Goethals. However, the coach that brought Belgium most successes at international tournament end stages was not Goethals but Guy Thys, who led his team to the 1980 European Championship final and six years later to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Mexico.

Caretakers are indicated in italics.

The current coach, Marc Wilmots. As a player, he scored 5 goals in 2 World Cups (1998, 2002).
Guy Thys, the manager that brought Belgium the greatest successes. Under his reign, the Red Devils reached the final at Euro 1980 and the semifinals at the World Cup of 1986.

Updated on 14 August 2013.

ManagerTenurePlayedWonDrawn*LostWin %Points/game[note 7]Major tournaments**
Scotland William Maxwell (1)1910-19132083940.001.35
England Charles Bunyan191440040.000.00
Scotland William Maxwell (2)1920-19284914102528.571.06SO 1920 - Winners[note 8]
SO 1924 - Round 2
Austria Victor Löwenfelt1928-19301152445.451.55SO 1928 - Quarter-Finals
Belgium Hector Goetinck1930-193431751922.580.84WC 1930 - Round 1
WC 1934 - Round 1
Hungary Jules Turnauer193530120.000.33
England Jack Butler1935-19401544726.671.07WC 1938 - Round 1
Belgium François Demol1944-1946822425.001.00
England Bill Gormlie1947-1953441891740.911.43
Scotland Dougall Livingstone1953-19541366146.151.85WC 1954 - Group Stage
Belgium André Vandeweyer1955-195717421123.530.82
Belgium Louis Nicolay19571100100.003.00
Hungary Géza Toldi1957-1958612316.670.83
Belgium Constant Vanden Stock1958-19686828112941.181.40
Belgium Raymond Goethals1968-1976442581156.821.89WC 1970 - Group Stage
EC 1972 - Third Place
Belgium Guy Thys (1)1976-198910146243145.541.60EC 1980 - Runners-Up
WC 1982 - Round 2
EC 1984 - Group Stage
WC 1986 - Fourth Place
Belgium Walter Meeuws1989-1990623133.331.50
Belgium Guy Thys (2)1990-19911344530.771.23WC 1990 - Round of 16
Belgium Paul Van Himst1991-1996361951252.781.72WC 1994 - Round of 16
Belgium Wilfried Van Moer1996522140.001.60
Belgium Georges Leekens (1)1997-1999291010934.481.38WC 1998 - Group Stage
Belgium Robert Waseige1999-2002341611747.061.74EC 2000 - Group Stage
WC 2002 - Round of 16
Belgium Aimé Anthuenis2002-2005291271041.381.48
Belgium René Vandereycken2005-2009301071333.331.23
Belgium Franky Vercauteren200950140.000.20
Netherlands Dick Advocaat2009-2010530260.001.80
Belgium Georges Leekens (2)2010-20121987442.101.63
Belgium Marc Wilmots[note 9]2012-1493264.292.14
Totals66026414924740.001.4318 tournaments
*Draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
**Abbreviations: SO = Summer Olympics, WC = World Cup, EC = European Championship
(1): first term
(2): second term

Individual all-time records[edit source | edit]

  Players still active for Belgium are highlighted

Most appearances[edit source | edit]

Jan Ceulemans, nicknamed Caje and Strong Jan, is Belgium's record international with 96 caps. In 1986, he was included in the World Cup All Star Team.

As of 14 August 2013 after Belgium - France
See also Progression of Belgium association football caps record.

Players with an equal number of caps are ranked in chronological order of reaching the milestone.

#NameBelgium careerCapsGoalsPosition
1Jan Ceulemans1977–19919623MF
2Timmy Simons2001–936DF/MF
3Eric Gerets1975–1991862DF
Franky Van der Elst1984–1998861MF
5Enzo Scifo1984–19998418MF
6Paul Van Himst1960–19748130FW
7Bart Goor1999–20087813MF
8Georges Grün1984–1995776DF
9Daniel Van Buyten2001–7210DF
10Lorenzo Staelens1990–2000708DF/MF
Marc Wilmots1990–20027029MF

Top scorers[edit source | edit]

Paul Van Himst, joint all-time topscorer with 30 goals together with Bernard Voorhoof

See also Progression of Belgium association football goalscoring record

Goalscorers with an equal number of goals are ranked with the highest to lowest goals per game ratio.

#NameBelgium careerGoalsCapsPositionGoals per game
1Bernard Voorhoof1928–19403061FW0.4918
Paul Van Himst1960–19743081FW0.3704
3Marc Wilmots1990–20022970MF0.4143
4Joseph Mermans1945–19562756FW0.4821
5Robert De Veen1906–19132623FW1.1304
Raymond Braine1925–19392654FW0.4815
7Wesley Sonck2001–20102454FW0.4444
8Marc Degryse1984–19962363FW0.3651
Jan Ceulemans1976–19912396MF0.2396
10Henri 'Rik' Coppens1949–19592147FW0.4468

Youngest players[edit source | edit]

Chelsea F.C. striker Romelu Lukaku became a Red Devil before the age of 17.

The top 10 youngest players who made their debut for the national football team of Belgium and their team at that time.

#Player (Team)Age
1Fernand Nisot (Léopold Club)16 years, 3 days
2Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht)16 years, 187 days
3Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht)16 years, 296 days
4Paul Van Himst (Anderlecht)17 years, 17 days
5Jean Capelle (Standard Liège)17 years, 153 days
6Joseph Musch (Saint-Gilloise)17 years, 198 days
7Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht)17 years, 314 days
8Eden Hazard (Lille)17 years, 316 days
9Raymond Braine (Beerschot)17 years, 321 days
10Bernard Voorhoof (Lierse)17 years, 338 days

Captains[edit source | edit]

Belgium has had 25 captains so far. Before 1978 four pure forwards and one goalkeeper have fulfilled this role but from then on only defenders and midfielders were assigned as captain, as is usually the case in association football. Up till 2011 under Advocaat and Leekens the former Belgium U-23 and current Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen was national squad's leader, but after having leaved the captaincy to Vincent Kompany during an injury period Kompany would become the new permanent captain.[4]

  Players still active for Belgium are highlighted
Vincent Kompany of Manchester City is the current captain of the national side.

Vice-captains that took over the captain's armband if the official captain could not play are not enlisted.

#PlayerPeriodPosition#PlayerPeriodPosition#PlayerPeriodPosition
1Philibert Smellinckx1935-1936DF11Christian Piot1975-1977GK21Marc Wilmots2000-2002MF
2Émile Stijnen1937-1939MF12Raoul Lambert1977-1977FW22Bart Goor2002-2005MF
3Bob Paverick1939-1946DF13Julien Cools1977-1980DF/MF23Timmy Simons2006-2009DF/MF
4Albert De Cleyn1946-1947FW14Wilfried Van Moer1980-1980MF24Thomas Vermaelen2009-2011DF
5Jules Henriet1947-1949DF/MF15Eric Gerets1981-1984DF25Vincent Kompany2011-DF
6Freddy Chaves1949-1951MF/FW16Jan Ceulemans1984-1991MF
7Jef Mermans1951-1956FW17Georges Grün1991-1995DF
8Victor Mees1956-1960MF18Enzo Scifo1996-1997MF
9Jef Jurion1960-1967MF19Franky Van der Elst1997-1998MF
10Paul Van Himst1967-1974FW20Lorenzo Staelens1998-2000DF/MF

FIFA ranking[edit source | edit]

The FIFA World Rankings saw light in 1990 and were officially introduced in December 1992. From 1999 on, they have been serving as an indicator for the current relative strength of national football teams and are based on official matches from the last four years, with more emphasis on the recent prestations. Before 1999, the past eight years were taken into account. Other rankings that measure over longer time scales also exist, like the World Football Elo Ratings; according to this ranking system, Belgium was the second best footballing nation between the 2nd and 5 September 1920.[101]

In the table below (with pointage between brackets), it can be seen that Belgium made appearances in the FIFA top-20 from immediately after the (initially unofficial) ranking system introduction until 1995 - corresponding to the endings of Belgium's Golden Period -, in the period 2001-2004 and from 2012 on. The historical depth in June 2007 was the direct consequence of poor results during the qualifiers for the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.

Last updated 19 August 2013[102]

Key to FIFA Ranking table
Highest position
Increased
Unchanged
No ranking made
Decreased
Lowest position
YearJan.Feb.Mar.Apr.MayJun.Jul.Aug.Sep.Oct.Nov.Dec.
1990----------------------18. (48.44) *
1991----------------------27. (42.2) *
1992----------------------17. (47.77) *
1993--------------18. (47)24. (45)24. (45)22. (47)25. (45)
1994--26. (44)33. (40)33. (40)34. (40)27. (43)20. (50)--19. (50)21. (49)22. (48)24. (47)
1995--23. (47)--21. (48)18. (50)19. (49)28. (45)29. (45)19. (50)29. (45)26. (46)24. (47)
199625. (47)28. (47)--38. (43)40. (42)--43. (41)43. (41)37. (44)36. (45)42. (44)42. (44)
1997--44. (43)--39. (46)31. (48)31. (49)36. (49)38. (49)48. (46)48. (46)41. (49)41. (50)
1998--41. (50)31. (53)32. (51)36. (50)--31. (52)30. (52)28. (52)31. (52)34. (51)35. (51)
199921. (610) **21. (607)22. (604)25. (599)27. (593)30. (594)33. (587)33. (581)32. (589)32. (584)30. (593)33. (588)
200033. (588)33. (586)33. (582)33. (584)30. (594)30. (585)28. (599)28. (596)25. (607)23. (620)26. (611)27. (610)
200127. (610)27. (608)26. (615)27. (619)30. (612)26. (626)26. (631)30. (622)26. (643)33. (625)20. (666)20. (666)
200220. (666)22. (664)21. (665)22. (657)23. (653)--19. (678)18. (677)19. (672)17. (688)18. (682)17. (682)
200316. (686)16. (684)16. (683)16. (682)16. (681)17. (672)18. (670)18. (672)16. (692)16. (696)16. (696)16. (696)
200416. (696)16. (693)16. (688)16. (682)17. (674)17. (670)24. (660)31. (650)29. (647)35. (635)38. (624)45. (600)
200544. (600)44. (598)51. (592)41. (615)42. (611)47. (600)50. (592)52. (585)47. (608)49. (606)52. (603)55. (596)
200655. (595)54. (599)50. (605)56. (583)56. (582)--57. (555) ***55. (555)50. (572)47. (583)53. (563)53. (563)
200753. (563)52. (559)55. (546)59. (512)62. (502)71. (444)70. (444)69. (438)60. (509)54. (577)49. (600)49. (600)
200849. (600)43. (636)42. (635)48. (620)46. (627)49. (600)46. (637)46. (637)55. (530)51. (589)55. (571)54. (548)
200954. (548)53. (568)49. (589)62. (534)62. (534)63. (518)63. (533)62. (533)68. (479)68. (474)64. (504)66. (491)
201066. (491)66. (491)68. (491)66. (506)62. (518)59. (541)48. (589)48. (589)62. (526)62. (499)62. (494)57. (526)
201158. (526)58. (526)62. (512)37. (654)37. (654)35. (691)37. (691)37. (675)34. (729)37. (670)41. (647)41. (647)
201240. (647)39. (663)40. (624)44. (604)44. (604)54. (564)53. (564)53. (564)40. (626)30. (723)20. (881)21. (868)
201320. (868)20. (864)19. (892)16. (953)15. (953)12. (1035)10. (1079)10. (1079)TBATBATBATBA
*The 1990 and 1991 FIFA World Rankings are unofficial; the exact 1990-1992 rankings and points were retrieved courtesy of FIFA's Communications & Public Affairs Division on 19 August 2013.
**In January 1999 the FIFA changed the system of the ranking calculation.
***In July 2006 the FIFA changed the system of the ranking calculation.

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ a b c D., M.; Lagae, Bart (15 May 2012). "Marc Wilmots voorlopig interim-bondscoach". De Standaard (in Dutch). 
  2. ^ a b M., Jan (6 June 2012). "Marc Wilmots is nieuwe bondscoach tot 2014". De Standaard (in Dutch). 
  3. ^ a b Van Uytvange, Koen (11 July 2012). "Vital Borkelmans wordt assistent-bondscoach". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). 
  4. ^ a b "Kompany blijft kapitein - Vermaelen ontgoocheld". Gazet Van Antwerpen (in Dutch). 10 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b M., Jan (15 May 2012). "Leekens verlaat Rode Duivels voor Club Brugge". De Standaard (in Dutch). 
  6. ^ a b "Belgium v France − a 109-year-old rivalry". UEFA. 13 August 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Hubert, Christian (cop. 1980). Les diables rouges (in French). Brussels: Arts & voyages. p. 12. ISBN 978-28-016-0046-7. 
  8. ^ Guldemont, Henry; Deps, Bob (1995). 100 ans de football en Belgique: 1895-1995, Union royale belge des sociétés de football association (in French). Brussels: Vif. p. 65. ISBN 90-5466-151-8. 
  9. ^ Matgen, Jean-Claude (27 January 2012). "Sinibaldi, le Béjart mauve". La Libre (in French). 
  10. ^ Charles, Dimitri (22 December 2005). "René Vandereycken is bondscoach". Voetbal België (in Dutch). 
  11. ^ "René Vandereycken ontslagen". Het Laatste Nieuws (in Dutch). 7 April 2009. 
  12. ^ "Vercauteren stapt op". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). 9 September 2009. 
  13. ^ "Dick Advocaat nieuwe bondscoach". Het Laatste Nieuws (in Dutch). 13 May 2009. 
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Footnotes[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ Note that this match is not considered to be a full international by the English FA, and does not appear in the records of the England team
  2. ^ On 6 September 2013 he will miss the away qualifier against Scotland due to an inguinal lesion.
  3. ^ He could not come in action in this match due to an ankle lesion.
  4. ^ During this match, he was positioned as forward.
  5. ^ He could not come in action in this match due to a strain in the upper leg.
  6. ^ The joint bid from Belgium and the Netherlands was preferred to the individual bids of Spain and Austria.[39]
  7. ^ According to the "three points for a win" standard.
  8. ^ Even though William Maxwell was the official trainer then, in the tournament the squad was coached by Raoul Daufresne de la Chevalerie
  9. ^ After the unexpected resignation of Georges Leekens in May 2012, Wilmots was only a caretaker in his first two matches against Montenegro and England. Later, both the player group and the Belgian Football Association chose him as permanent coach.

External links[edit source | edit]