Belgium national football team

In today's world, Belgium national football team has become a topic of great relevance and interest to a wide spectrum of people. Whether due to its impact on society, its influence on culture or its importance in the academic field, Belgium national football team has become a recurring topic of conversation in various circles. From its origins to its relevance today, Belgium national football team has generated endless debates and reflections that have not only enriched knowledge on the subject, but have also triggered significant changes in different aspects of daily life. In this article, we will thoroughly explore the impact of Belgium national football team, analyzing its different facets and reflecting on its importance in today's world.

Belgium
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)
  • De Rode Duivels
  • Les Diables rouges
  • Die Roten Teufel
  • (The Red Devils)
AssociationRoyal Belgian Football Association (RBFA)
ConfederationUEFA (Europe)
Head coachDomenico Tedesco
CaptainKevin De Bruyne
Most capsJan Vertonghen (153)
Top scorerRomelu Lukaku (83)
Home stadiumKing Baudouin Stadium
FIFA codeBEL
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 4 Steady (15 February 2024)
Highest1 (November 2015 – March 2016, September 2018 – March 2022)
Lowest71 (June 2007)
First international
 Belgium 3–3 France 
(Uccle, Belgium; 1 May 1904)
Biggest win
 Belgium 9–0 Zambia 
(Brussels, Belgium; 4 June 1994)
 Belgium 10–1 San Marino 
(Brussels, Belgium; 28 February 2001)
 Belgium 9–0 Gibraltar 
(Liège, Belgium; 31 August 2017)
 Belgium 9–0 San Marino 
(Brussels, Belgium; 10 October 2019)
Biggest defeat
 England Amateurs 11–2 Belgium 
(London, England; 17 April 1909)
World Cup
Appearances14 (first in 1930)
Best resultThird place (2018)
European Championship
Appearances6 (first in 1972)
Best resultRunners-up (1980)
Nations League Finals
Appearances1 (first in 2021)
Best resultFourth place (2021)
Websiterbfa.be

The Belgium national football team officially represents Belgium in men's international football since their maiden match in 1904. The squad is under the global jurisdiction of FIFA and is governed in Europe by UEFA—both of which were co-founded by the Belgian team's supervising body, the Royal Belgian Football Association. Periods of regular Belgian representation at the highest international level, from 1920 to 1938, from 1982 to 2002 and again from 2014 onwards, have alternated with mostly unsuccessful qualification rounds. Most of Belgium's home matches are played at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

Belgium's national team have participated in three quadrennial major football competitions. It appeared in the end stages of fourteen FIFA World Cup and six UEFA European Championship, and featured at three Olympic football tournament, including the 1920 Summer Olympic which they won. Other notable performances are victories over four reigning world champions—West Germany, Brazil, Argentina and France—between 1954 and 2002. Belgium has long-standing football rivalries with its Dutch and French counterparts, having played both teams nearly every year from 1905 to 1967. The squad has been known as the Red Devils since 1906; its fan club is named "1895".

During the national player career of forward Paul Van Himst, the most-praised Belgian footballer of the 20th century, Belgium finished in third place as hosts at UEFA Euro 1972. After that, they experienced two golden ages with many gifted players. In the first period, which lasted from the 1980s to the early 1990s, the team finished as runners-up at UEFA Euro 1980 and fourth in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. In the second, under guidance of Marc Wilmots and later Roberto Martínez in the 2010s, Belgium topped the FIFA World Ranking for the first time in November 2015 and finished third at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. To date, Belgium is the only national team in the world to top the FIFA ranking without having won a World Cup or a continental trophy (Spain had topped the ranking in late 2008 without winning the World Cup, but had won the European title in 1964 and 2008; while the Netherlands topped the ranking in August 2011 without a World Cup title, but won the European title in 1988).

History

Early history

Belgium was one of the first mainland European countries to play association football, with the earliest recorded example of its practice in Belgium dating back to 1863.

Football team in uniform
The first Belgium A-squad in 1901 featured four Englishmen.

On 11 October 1900, Beerschot AC honorary president Jorge Díaz announced that Antwerp would host a series of challenge matches between Europe's best football teams. After some organisational problems, on 28 April 1901, Beerschot's pitch hosted its first tournament, in which a Belgian selection and a Dutch team made up of players from third-level sides led by ex-footballer Cees van Hasselt contested the Coupe Vanden Abeele. Naturally, the hosts had little trouble claiming the cup, defeating the Netherlands by 8–0. Belgium then beat the Netherlands in all three follow-up matches; FIFA does not recognize these results because Belgium fielded some English players, such as Herbert Potts, who scored 12 of "Belgium's" 17 goals.

On 1 May 1904, the Belgians played their first official match, against France at the Stade du Vivier d'Oie in Uccle; their draw left the Évence Coppée Trophy unclaimed. Twenty days later, the football boards of both countries were among the seven FIFA founders. At that time, the Belgian squad was chosen by a committee chaired by Édouard de Laveleye, who usually drew from the country's six or seven major clubs. Belgium would play twice a year against the Netherlands beginning from 1905 onwards, generally once in Antwerp and once in Rotterdam. From these beginnings until 1925, Belgian-Dutch cup trophies would be awarded in the "Low Countries derby".

In 1906, the national team players received the nickname Red Devils because of their red jerseys, and four years later, Scottish ex-footballer William Maxwell replaced the UBSSA committee as their manager. From 1912, UBSSA governed football only and was renamed UBSFA. During the Great War, the national team only played unrecognized friendlies, with matches in and against France.

Olympic gold and World Cup struggles

A successful penalty kick, seen from the back of the net
In the 1920 Olympic football final at the Olympisch Stadion in Antwerp, Robert Coppée scored for Belgium with a penalty kick.

At the 1920 Summer Olympic, in their first official Olympics appearance, the Red Devils won the gold medal on home soil after a controversial final in which their Czechoslovak opponents left the pitch. In the three 1920s Summer Olympic, they achieved fair results (four wins in seven matches), and played their first intercontinental match, against Argentina.

However, over the following decade, Belgium lost all of their matches at the first three FIFA World Cup final tournament. According to historian Richard Henshaw, "he growth of in Scandinavia, Central Europe, and South America left Belgium far behind". Although World War II hindered international football events in the 1940s, the Belgian team remained active with unofficial matches against squads of other allied nations.

Belgium qualified for only one of eight major tournament during the 1950s and the 1960s: the 1954 World Cup. The day before the tournament began, the RBFA was among the three UEFA founders. Dutch journalists considered the draw of the 1954 Belgian team in their opener against England to be the most surprising result of that match day, even more than Switzerland's victory over the Italian "football stars". However, Belgium were eliminated after a loss to Italy in the second (and last) group match. Two bright spots in these decades were wins against World Cup holders: West Germany in 1954, and Brazil in 1963. Between these, Belgium defeated Hungary's Golden Team in 1956. The combination of failure in competitive matches, and success in exhibition matches, gave the Belgians the mock title of "world champions of the friendlies".

The team's performance improved during the early 1970s, under manager Raymond Goethals. Fully dressed in white, as the White Devils, Belgium had their first victories at World and European Championship at the 1970 World Cup and Euro 1972. En route to that Euro appearance, their first, they eliminated reigning European champions Italy by winning the two-legged quarter-final on aggregate. At the end stage, they finished third by winning the consolation match against Hungary. In 1973, the denial of a match-winning goal in their last 1974 FIFA World Cup qualification match for UEFA Group 3 cost Belgium their appearance at the final, causing Belgium to become the only nation ever to miss a World Cup final round despite not allowing a goal during the qualifiers. The next two attempts to reach a major final were also fruitless.

Golden age

Beginning with a second-place finish at Euro 1980, the 1980s and the early 1990s are generally considered as Belgium's first golden age. Coached by Guy Thys, they achieved their spot in the 1980 final with an unbeaten record in the group phase; in the final, they narrowly lost the title to West Germany with the score 1–2. Starting with the 1982 World Cup, and ending with the 2002 World Cup, the national team qualified for six consecutive World Cup end stages and mostly progressed to the second round. During this period, managers Guy Thys, Paul Van Himst and Robert Waseige each guided a Belgian selection past the first round. In addition to receiving individual FIFA recognitions, the team reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup. After reaching the Euro 1980 final, they were unsuccessful at subsequent European Championship, with early exits from their appearances in 1984 and in 2000. During the late 1990s, they played three friendly tournament in Morocco, Cyprus and Japan, sharing the 1999 Kirin Cup with Peru in the latter. The greatest talents of the Belgian team during this golden age were retired from international football by 2000. At the eve of the World Cup in 2002, Belgium defeated reigning world and European champions France. During that World Cup, Belgium defeated Russia and tied with co-host Japan and Tunisia to reach the round of 16.

Belgian defender maneuvering around the Algerian goal
Belgium (in red) playing Algeria at the Mineirão at the 2014 World Cup

After the 2002 World Cup, the team weakened with the loss of more veterans and coach Waseige. They missed out five successive major finals from UEFA Euro 2004 until UEFA Euro 2012, and went through an equal number of head coaches. A 2005 win over reigning European champions Greece meant nothing but a small comfort. In between, a promising new generation was maturing at the 2007 European U-21 Championship; Belgium's squad qualified for the following year's Summer Olympic in Beijing, where the Young Red Devils squad finished fourth. Seventeen of them appeared in the senior national team, albeit without making an immediate impact. Belgium finished in second (and last) place at the Kirin Cup in May 2009, and lost against the 125th FIFA-ranked Armenian team in September 2009. After Georges Leekens' second stint as national manager, his assistant Marc Wilmots became the caretaker in May 2012.

Recent history

After two matches as interim coach, Wilmots agreed to replace Leekens as manager. Following his appointment, the team's results improved, such that some foreign media regarded it as another Belgian golden generation. The young Belgian squad qualified as unbeaten group winners for the 2014 World Cup final, and earned Belgium's second-ever place in a World Cup quarter-finals with a four-match winning streak. Belgium qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 with a match to spare in October 2015, and took the top spot in the FIFA World Ranking for the first time in November 2015, to stay first for five months. In the following year, Belgium could not confirm their role as outsider at the European Championship with a quarter-finals elimination by the 26th FIFA-ranked Welsh team. This prompted the RBFA to dismiss Wilmots. In the 2018 World Cup qualifying allocation, they were seeded first in their group, and made the final tournament under Spanish manager Roberto Martínez, becoming the first European team besides hosts Russia to do so. Belgium was eliminated in the semi-finals by eventual champions France, but won the third place play-off against England. On 16 November 2019, for the first time in its history the team topped the World Football Elo Ratings, after a 1–4 away win over Russia during the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Despite the impressive form in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers as well as being regarded as the biggest contender for the European trophy, the tournament became a complete disappointment for Belgium. Being drawn in Group B alongside Russia, Denmark and Finland, Belgium easily conquered the group with three wins. In the knockout phase, Belgium first faced reigning champions Portugal in the last sixteen and survived the scare with a thunder strike from Thorgan Hazard to give Belgium a 1–0 win. In the quarter-finals, Belgium once again faced old foe Italy, but Belgium failed to take revenge for their 2016 loss, once again suffering a 1–2 defeat, with the goal being scored by Romelu Lukaku, ending Belgium's campaign on a sad note.

At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Belgium were drawn into Group F alongside Croatia, Morocco and Canada. Despite starting their campaign well with a 1–0 victory over Canada, they then suffered a shock 2–0 defeat to Morocco, and following a 0–0 draw with Croatia in their final group game, Belgium were knocked out of the tournament at the group stages for the first time since 1998. Following their elimination from the tournament, Martínez announced that he would be standing down as head coach after six years in charge of the national team.

In February 2023, it was announced that Domenico Tedesco has been appointed as the new head coach of the Belgian national team, replacing Roberto Martinez. Tedesco's first match as the head coach will be the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying match against Sweden on the 24th of March. This is Tedesco's first national coaching job, having previously worked at a club level with Schalke 04, Spartak Moscow, and RB Leipzig. Tedesco is contracted until the end of the UEFA Euro 2024 competitions.

Team image

Kits

Traditional white away jersey worn by the team at the 1970 World Cup
Stylised lion emblem (1948–80)
Traditional red jersey worn by the team which placed third at the 2018 World Cup
RFBA emblem (1980–2019)
• White away jersey (1970 World Cup), with the stylised lion emblem (1948–80)
• Traditional red home jersey (2018 World Cup), with RBFA emblem (1981-2019)

In home matches, the team's outfield players traditionally wear the colours of the Belgian flag: black, yellow and red. Red dominates the strip and is often the sole jersey colour. The away colours are usually white, black or both; in 2014, the squad introduced a third, yellow kit. Their shirts are often trimmed with tricolores at the margins. Since 1981, the RBFA emblem has been the national team's badge; the previous badge was a yellow lion on a black shield, similar to the escutcheon of the national coat of arms. On 8 November 2019, the Royal Belgian Football Association revealed a new logo, which preserved the main elements of the previous one: the royal crown, the wreath and the Belgian tricolor.

For their first unofficial match in 1901, the Belgian team wore white jerseys with tricoloured bands on the upper arms. Around their third unofficial match in 1902, the choice was made for a "shirt with national colours ... with a stripe, the number of times every player has participated in an encounter". Since 1904, Belgium's classic all-red jersey design has been altered twice. In 1904–05, the squad briefly wore satin shirts with three horizontal bands in red, yellow and black; according to sports journalist Victor Boin, the shirts set "the ugliness record". During the 1970s, manager Raymond Goethals chose an all-white combination to improve the team's visibility during evening matches.

Six clothing manufacturers have supplied the official team strip. Adidas is the producer since 2014, and closed a sponsorship deal with the RBFA until 2026; it was also the supplier from 1974 to 1980, and from 1982 to 1991. Former kit manufacturers are Umbro (early 1970s), Admiral (1981–1982), Diadora (1992–1999), Nike (1999–2010) and Burrda (2010–2014).

Kit supplier Period
United Kingdom Umbro Early 1970s
West Germany Adidas 1974–1981
United Kingdom Admiral 1981–1982
Germany Adidas 1982–1991
Italy Diadora 1992–1999
United States Nike 1999–2010
Switzerland Burrda 2010–2014
Germany Adidas 2014–present

Media coverage

Journalist, seated in the stands and speaking into a microphone
Gust De Muynck's live coverage during Belgium–Netherlands in 1931

The first live coverage of a Belgian sporting event occurred on 3 May 1931, when journalist Gust De Muynck commentated on the football match between Belgium and the Netherlands on radio. Later, football broadcasts were also televised. As 60 per cent of Belgians speak Dutch and 40 per cent French, commentaries for the national team matches are provided in both languages. The matches are not broadcast in German—Belgium's third official language. During Belgium's tournament appearances in the 1980s and the early 1990s, Rik De Saedeleer crowned himself the nation's most famous football commentator with his emotional and humorous reports.

Initially the matches were transmitted mainly on public television channels: the former BRTN (now VRT) in Dutch, and the RTBF in French. Since 1994, commercial channels such as vtm and its sister channel Kanaal 2, and VIER in Flanders, have purchased broadcasting rights. The Euro 2016 round-of-16 match against Hungary was the most-watched programme in Belgian television history, with an audience of over four million viewers out of 11.3 million Belgian citizens.

In April 2014, the VRT started transmitting a nine-piece, behind-the-scenes documentary about the national team filmed during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, titled Iedereen Duivel (Everybody Devil). Cable broadband provider Telenet broadcast an eight-part documentary about individual players titled Rode Helden (Red Heroes).

Side activities

Old cartoon of an association football match with the goalkeeper in the middle who jumps and hits the ball
Illustration of Belgium's game against France in April 1918: some of such unofficial wartime matches served as charity fundraisers.

Multiple events were organised for the fans during the squad's peak popularity in the 2010s. During the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, a string of interactive events called the Devil Challenges were organised. The premise was that small groups of international players would do a favour in return for each of the five comprehensive chores their supporters completed ("colour Belgium red", "gather 500,000 decibels", etc.), all of which were accomplished. In June 2013, the Belgian national team's first ever Fan Day attracted over 20,000 supporters; a second was held after the 2014 World Cup. On the days of Belgium's 2014 World Cup group matches, large dance events titled Dance with the Devils took place in three Belgian cities. This type of happening was repeated during Belgium's Euro 2016 group matches.

Occasionally, the Belgian team directly supported charity. Between 1914 and 1941 they played at least five unofficial matches of which the returns were for charitable purposes: two against France, and three against the Netherlands. In mid-1986, when the Belgian delegation reached the Mexico World Cup semi-finals, the squad started a project titled Casa Hogar, an idea of delegation leader Michel D'Hooghe. Casa Hogar is a home for street children in the Mexican industrial city of Toluca, to which the footballers donated part of their tournament bonuses. In August 2013, the national team supported four social projects through the charity fund Football+ Foundation, by playing an A-match with a plus sign on the shoulders of their jerseys and auctioning the shirts.

In the 21st century, several national team players acted up against discrimination. In 2002, the national squad held its first anti-racism campaign in which they posed with slogans. A home Euro 2012 qualifier was given the theme of respect for diversity in 2010; this UEFA-supported action was part of the European FARE Action Week. Ex-Red Devil Dimitri Mbuyu—the first black Belgium player (in 1987)—was engaged as godfather, and other foreign, current, and former footballers who played in the Belgian top division participated. In 2018, four national team players spoke up against homophobic violence, in a video clip made by organisation Kick It Out.

Nickname, logo and mascot

After a 1905 match, a Dutch reporter wrote that three Belgian footballers "work as devils". A year later Léopold FC manager Pierre Walckiers nicknamed the players Red Devils, inspired by their jersey colour, and the achievement of three successive victories in 1906. Because of their white home shirts in the 1970s, they were temporarily known as the White Devils. Since 2012, the team logo is a red trident (or three-pronged pitchfork), an item that is often associated with the devil. Apart from that, the national squad has also had four official anthropomorphous mascots. The first was a lion in team kit named Diabolix, a reference to the central symbol in the Belgian coat of arms that appeared on the team jerseys from 1905 to 1980. In accordance with their epithet, the next mascots were a red super-devil and two fan-made modern devils; the most recent one, since 2018, was named "Red".

Supporters

"Cycling is the traditional national sport of Belgium, but soccer is the most popular."

—Historian Richard Henshaw, 1979

Fans of the Belgian national team display the country's tricolour national flag, usually with an emphasis on the red element. In 2012, local supporter clubs merged into one large Belgian federation named "1895" after the foundation year of the RBFA. One year later, 1895 had 24,000 members. The nationwide interest in the football squad has also been reflected by the occasional presence of Belgian monarchs at their matches since 1914. One of the greatest moments for the Belgian team and their 12th man was in mid-1986 when the Belgian delegation at the Mexico World Cup received a warm "welcome home". When the World Cup semi-finalists appeared on the balcony of Brussels Town Hall, the adjoining Grand Place square was filled with an ecstatic crowd that cheered as though their squad had won a major tournament.

About a hundred Belgian football wearing mainly red shirts sitting in the stadium
Crowd of Belgian fans in Kaliningrad Stadium at the 2018 World Cup

The team's deterioration after the 2002 World Cup lead to their absence from the end stages of the next five major tournament, and strained their popularity. Between 2004 and 2010, local journalists called the Belgian footballing nation "mortally ill". Of the fans that kept supporting their squad in bad times, Ludo Rollenberg was one of the most loyal. He attended the team's matches worldwide since 1990, missing only the 1999 Japanese Kirin Cup and two other matches by 2006, and was the only supporter to attend their matches in Armenia in 2009.

Just before the kick-off of a 2014 World Cup home qualifier, Belgium's footballers saw a first tifo banner, sized 10.5 by 11.5 metres (34 by 38 ft) depicting a devil in the national colours. The presence of many Belgian players in top leagues abroad, such as the Premier League, and promising results under Marc Wilmots, increased fans' enthusiasm and belief in a successful World Cup campaign. Because of this popularity peak, two Belgian monuments were decorated in national colours for the 2014 FIFA World Cup event; the Manneken Pis statue received a child-sized version of the new Belgian uniform, and facets of the Atomium's upper sphere were covered in black, yellow and red vinyl.

Rivalries

Match phase with two outfield players from each side
Illustration of a Netherlands–Belgium cup match at Rotterdam's Schuttersveld pitch in 1905

Belgium's main football rivals are its neighbors the Netherlands and France, with which it shares close cultural and political relations. The matchup between the Belgian and Dutch team is known as the Low Countries derby, as of May 2018 they have played each other in 126 official matches. Belgium won the first four—unofficial—matches against the Netherlands, but lost their first FIFA-recognised contest. The two national teams played each other biannually between 1905 and 1964, except during the World Wars. They have met 18 times in major tournament campaigns, and have played at least 35 friendly cup matches: in Belgium for the Coupe Vanden Abeele, and in the Netherlands for the Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad-Beker. The overall balance favours the Netherlands, with 55 wins against 41 Belgian victories. The Low Countries' squads co-operated in fundraising initiatives between 1925 and 1941; they played five unofficial matches for charity, FIFA and the Belgian Olympic Committee.

The clash between the Belgian and French sides is nicknamed le Match Sympathique in French ("the Friendly Match"); they have contested 74 official matches as of September 2020. The first match between Belgium and France, the Évence Coppée Trophy played in 1904, was the first official match for both teams and the first official football match between independent countries on the European continent. Until 1967, the sides met almost annually. As of September 2020, Belgium have the better record, with 30 wins to France's 25, and France has played most often against Belgium in international football.

Stadium

Aerial photo of packed stadium
Stadium interior, photographed from the grandstand
The Jubilee Stadium on the Heysel Plateau in 1935 (left) and the King Baudouin Stadium in 2013 (right)

Numerous former and current venues in 11 urban areas have hosted Belgium's home matches. Most of these matches have been played in Brussels on the Heysel Plateau, on the site of the present-day King Baudouin Stadium—a multipurpose facility with a seating capacity of 50,122. Its field also hosts the team's final trainings before domestic matches. Since 2007, most physical preparation takes place at the National Football Centre in Tubize, or at Anderlecht's training ground in the Neerpede quarter. Apart from Belgian home friendlies, at the international level Belgium's national stadium has also hosted six European Championship matches.

In 1930, for the country's centennial, the venue was inaugurated as the Jubilee Stadium with an unofficial match between Belgium and the Netherlands. At that time, the stadium had a capacity of 75,000. In 1946, it was renamed Heysel Stadium after its city quarter. This new name became associated with the tragedy preceding the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus and Liverpool; 39 spectators died after riots in the then antiquated building. Three years after the disaster, plans were unveiled for a renovation; in 1995, after two years of work, the modernised stadium was named after the late King Baudouin. In May 2013, the Brussels-Capital Region announced that the King Baudouin Stadium would be replaced by Eurostadium, elsewhere on the Heysel Plateau; in 2018, however, the plans for the new stadium were cancelled definitively.

Results and fixtures

As of 1 December 2022, the complete official match record of the Belgian national team comprises 824 matches: 362 wins, 172 draws and 290 losses. During these matches, the team scored 1,475 times and conceded 1,297 goals. Belgium's highest winning margin is nine goals, which has been achieved on four occasions: against Zambia in 1994 (9–0), twice against San Marino in 2001 (10–1) and 2019 (9–0), and against Gibraltar in 2017 (9–0). Their longest winning streak is 12 wins, and their highest unbeaten record is 23 consecutive official matches.

The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

  Win   Draw   Loss   Fixture

2023

24 March 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Sweden  0–3  Belgium Solna, Sweden
20:45 Report
  • Lukaku 35', 49', 83'
Stadium: Friends Arena
Attendance: 49,296
Referee: Orel Grinfeld (Israel)
28 March 2023 Friendly Germany  2–3  Belgium Cologne, Germany
20:45
Report Stadium: RheinEnergieStadion
Attendance: 42,910
Referee: Willy Delajod (France)
17 June 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Belgium  1–1  Austria Brussels, Belgium
20:45
Report Stadium: King Baudouin Stadium
Attendance: 39,237
Referee: Jérôme Brisard (France)
20 June 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Estonia  0–3  Belgium Tallinn, Estonia
20:45 Report
Stadium: Lilleküla Stadium
Attendance: 11,772
Referee: John Beaton (Scotland)
9 September 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Azerbaijan  0–1  Belgium Baku, Azerbaijan
15:00 Report Stadium: Dalga Arena
Attendance: 4,500
Referee: Nenad Minaković (Serbia)
12 September 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Belgium  5–0  Estonia Brussels, Belgium
20:45
Report Stadium: King Baudouin Stadium
Attendance: 24,127
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (Poland)
13 October 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Austria  2–3  Belgium Vienna, Austria
20:45
Report
Stadium: Ernst-Happel-Stadion
Attendance: 47,000
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (Spain)
16 October 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Belgium  1–1
(Abandoned)
 Sweden Brussels, Belgium
20:45
Report Stadium: King Baudouin Stadium
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy)
Note: The match was abandoned at half-time with the score 1–1 due to security reasons, after two Swedish supporters were killed in a terrorist shooting in Brussels. On 19 October 2023, UEFA decided that the half-time score would be considered final and the match would not be resumed.
15 November 2023 Friendly Belgium  1–0  Serbia Leuven, Belgium
20:45 Report Stadium: Den Dreef
Referee: Marian Barbu (Romania)
19 November 2023 UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying Group F Belgium  5–0  Azerbaijan Brussels, Belgium
18:00
Report Stadium: King Baudouin Stadium
Attendance: 30,276
Referee: Gergő Bogár (Hungary)

2024

23 March 2024 Friendly Republic of Ireland  v  Belgium Dublin, Ireland
20:45 Stadium: Aviva Stadium
26 March 2024 Friendly England  v  Belgium London, England
20:45 Stadium: Wembley Stadium
5 June 2024 Friendly Belgium  v  Montenegro Brussels, Belgium
20:30 Stadium: King Baudouin Stadium
8 June 2024 Friendly Belgium  v  Luxembourg Brussels, Belgium
20:00 Stadium: King Baudouin Stadium
17 June 2024 UEFA Euro 2024 Group E Belgium  v  Slovakia Frankfurt, Germany
18:00 Report Stadium: Waldstadion
22 June 2024 UEFA Euro 2024 Group E Belgium  v  Romania Cologne, Germany
21:00 Report Stadium: RheinEnergieStadion
26 June 2024 UEFA Euro 2024 Group E TBC v  Belgium Stuttgart, Germany
18:00 Report Stadium: MHPArena
6 September 2024 (2024-09-06) 2024–25 Nations League Belgium  v  Israel Brussels, Belgium
20:45 Report Stadium: King Baudouin Stadium
9 September 2024 (2024-09-09) 2024–25 Nations League France  v  Belgium France
20:45 Report Stadium: TBD
10 October 2024 (2024-10-10) 2024–25 Nations League Italy  v  Belgium Italy
20:45 Report Stadium: TBD
14 October 2024 (2024-10-14) 2024–25 Nations League Belgium  v  France Belgium
20:45 Report Stadium: TBD
14 November 2024 (2024-11-14) 2024–25 Nations League Belgium  v  Italy Belgium
20:45 Report Stadium: TBD
17 November 2024 (2024-11-17) 2024–25 Nations League Israel  v  Belgium TBD
20:45 Report Stadium: TBD

Coaching staff

Position Name
Team Manager Belgium Piet Erauw
Assistant Technical Director Belgium Jelle Schelstraete
Head Coach Italy Domenico Tedesco
Assistant Coach Germany Andreas Hinkel
Germany Thomas Schneider
Goalkeeper Coach Germany Max Urwantschky
Fitness Coach Serbia Vladimir Čepzanović
Video Analyst Belgium Dylan Vanhaeren
Performance Analysts Belgium Luke Benstead
Belgium Stijn Campo
Performance and Data Analyst Belgium Yannick Euvrard
Team Doctors Belgium Geert Declercq
Belgium Kristof Sas

Coaching history

Since 1904, the RBFA, 24 permanent managers and two caretaker managers have officially been in charge of the national team; this includes one national footballer selector. As of June 2016, a crew of over 20 RBFA employees guides the player group, including their Spanish manager Roberto Martínez, and goalkeeping coaches Erwin Lemmens and Iñaki Bergara. Under Marc Wilmots, Belgium reached the top FIFA ranking spot in 2015, which earned him the title of Best Coach of the Year at the 2015 Globe Soccer Awards. Under Guy Thys, the squad achieved record results at World and European Championship; World Soccer magazine accordingly proclaimed him Manager of the Year in 1986.

Rather than developing innovative team formations or styles of play, Belgium's managers applied conventional tactics. At the three 1930s World Cups, the Red Devils were aligned in a contemporary 2–3–5 "pyramid". In 1954, Doug Livingstone's squad played in a 3–2–5 "WM" arrangement during World Cup matches. Throughout most of their tournament matches in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, the team played in a 4–4–2 formation. Since Raymond Goethals' stint in the 1970s, a key strength of the Belgian squad has been their systematic use of the offside trap, a defensive tactic that was already intensively applied in the 1960s by Anderlecht coach Pierre Sinibaldi. According to football journalist Wim De Bock, "master tactician" Goethals represented the "conservative, defensive football of the Belgian national team"; he added that in the 1970s, the contrast between the Belgian playing style and the Total Football of their Dutch rivals "could not be bigger".

In an attempt to win a match at the 1998 World Cup, Georges Leekens chose a 4–3–3 arrangement for Belgium's second and third group matches. Robert Waseige, Belgium coach around 2000, said that "above all, 4–4–2 system holy", in the sense that he left good attackers on the bench to keep his favourite formation. Wilmots opted for the 4–3–3 line-up again, with the intention of showing dominant football against any country.

Players

Current squad

On 10 November 2023, 26 players were named in the squad for the Friendly against Serbia and the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying match against Azerbaijan on 15 and 19 November 2023 respectively. On 13 November, Zinho Vanheusden left the squad due to injury, while Arnaud Bodart was still absent due to illness and would join only later. One day later, Jorne Spileers received his first call-up to replace Vanheusden. After the match against Serbia, Amadou Onana left the squad due to injury.

Information correct as of 19 November 2023, after the match against Azerbaijan.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Thomas Kaminski (1992-10-23) 23 October 1992 (age 31) 0 0 England Luton Town
12 1GK Koen Casteels (1992-06-25) 25 June 1992 (age 31) 8 0 Germany VfL Wolfsburg
13 1GK Matz Sels (1992-02-26) 26 February 1992 (age 31) 6 0 England Nottingham Forest
1GK Arnaud Bodart (1998-03-11) 11 March 1998 (age 25) 0 0 Belgium Standard Liège

2 2DF Zeno Debast (2003-10-24) 24 October 2003 (age 20) 5 0 Belgium Anderlecht
3 2DF Arthur Theate (2000-05-25) 25 May 2000 (age 23) 14 0 France Rennes
4 2DF Wout Faes (1998-04-03) 3 April 1998 (age 25) 11 0 England Leicester City
5 2DF Jan Vertonghen (1987-04-24) 24 April 1987 (age 36) 153 10 Belgium Anderlecht
16 2DF Ameen Al-Dakhil (2002-03-06) 6 March 2002 (age 21) 4 0 England Burnley
21 2DF Timothy Castagne (1995-12-05) 5 December 1995 (age 28) 39 2 England Fulham
22 2DF Jorne Spileers (2005-01-21) 21 January 2005 (age 19) 0 0 Belgium Club Brugge

6 3MF Aster Vranckx (2002-10-04) 4 October 2002 (age 21) 4 0 Germany VfL Wolfsburg
8 3MF Youri Tielemans (1997-05-07) 7 May 1997 (age 26) 65 5 England Aston Villa
11 3MF Yannick Carrasco (1993-09-04) 4 September 1993 (age 30) 72 11 Saudi Arabia Al Shabab
15 3MF Olivier Deman (2000-04-06) 6 April 2000 (age 23) 2 0 Germany Werder Bremen
18 3MF Orel Mangala (1998-03-18) 18 March 1998 (age 25) 12 0 France Lyon
20 3MF Arthur Vermeeren (2005-02-07) 7 February 2005 (age 19) 2 0 Spain Atlético Madrid
3MF Alexis Saelemaekers (1999-06-27) 27 June 1999 (age 24) 12 1 Italy Bologna

7 4FW Jérémy Doku (2002-05-27) 27 May 2002 (age 21) 18 2 England Manchester City
9 4FW Leandro Trossard (1994-12-04) 4 December 1994 (age 29) 30 7 England Arsenal
10 4FW Romelu Lukaku (vice-captain) (1993-05-13) 13 May 1993 (age 30) 113 83 Italy Roma
14 4FW Dodi Lukebakio (1997-09-24) 24 September 1997 (age 26) 12 2 Spain Sevilla
17 4FW Loïs Openda (2000-02-16) 16 February 2000 (age 24) 14 2 Germany RB Leipzig
19 4FW Johan Bakayoko (2003-04-20) 20 April 2003 (age 20) 9 1 Netherlands PSV Eindhoven
23 4FW Michy Batshuayi (1993-10-02) 2 October 1993 (age 30) 53 27 Turkey Fenerbahçe

Recent call-ups

The following footballers were part of a national selection in the past twelve months, but are not part of the current squad.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Thibaut Courtois (vice-captain) (1992-05-11) 11 May 1992 (age 31) 102 0 Spain Real Madrid v.  Estonia, 20 June 2023 WD

DF Zinho Vanheusden (1999-07-29) 29 July 1999 (age 24) 1 0 Belgium Standard Liège v.  Serbia, 15 November 2023 INJ
DF Hugo Siquet (2002-07-09) 9 July 2002 (age 21) 1 0 Belgium Cercle Brugge v.  Estonia, 12 September 2023
DF Sebastiaan Bornauw (1999-03-22) 22 March 1999 (age 24) 4 0 Germany VfL Wolfsburg v.  Estonia, 20 June 2023
DF Thomas Meunier (1991-09-12) 12 September 1991 (age 32) 62 8 Turkey Trabzonspor v.  Germany, 28 March 2023

MF Amadou Onana (2001-08-16) 16 August 2001 (age 22) 9 0 England Everton v.  Azerbaijan, 19 November 2023 INJ
MF Mandela Keita (2002-05-10) 10 May 2002 (age 21) 1 0 Belgium Antwerp v.  Sweden, 16 October 2023
MF Hans Vanaken (1992-08-24) 24 August 1992 (age 31) 23 5 Belgium Club Brugge v.  Estonia, 20 June 2023
MF Mike Trésor (1999-05-28) 28 May 1999 (age 24) 2 0 England Burnley v.  Estonia, 20 June 2023
MF Leander Dendoncker (1995-04-15) 15 April 1995 (age 28) 32 1 Italy Napoli v.  Estonia, 20 June 2023 INJ
MF Kevin De Bruyne (captain) (1991-06-28) 28 June 1991 (age 32) 99 26 England Manchester City v.  Austria, 17 June 2023 INJ
MF Roméo Lavia (2004-01-06) 6 January 2004 (age 20) 1 0 England Chelsea v.  Germany, 28 March 2023
MF Dennis Praet (1994-05-14) 14 May 1994 (age 29) 15 2 England Leicester City v.  Germany, 28 March 2023

FW Charles De Ketelaere (2001-03-10) 10 March 2001 (age 22) 14 2 Italy Atalanta v.  Sweden, 16 October 2023 INJ

  • PRE Preliminary squad / standby
  • RET Retired from the national team
  • INJ Player injuries
  • ILL Player illness
  • U21 Moved to U21 squad
  • WD Player withdrew from squad due to non-injury issue

Notable

Player on the pitch in national team outfit
Paul Van Himst

Between 1904 and 1980, mainly attacking Belgium players were recognised as talented footballers. In the team's first decade, striker Robert De Veen was very productive with 26 goals in 23 international appearances. Richard Henshaw described Alphonse Six as "Belgium's greatest player in the prewar period ... was often called the most skillful forward outside Great Britain". The key player of the victorious 1920 Olympic squad was Robert Coppée, who scored a hat-trick against Spain's Ricardo Zamora, and the penalty in the final. Other outstanding Belgian strikers in the interwar period were former top scorer Bernard Voorhoof and "Belgium's football grandmaster" Raymond Braine, considered "one of the greatest players of the era".

Gifted players in the 1940s and the 1950s included centre-back Louis Carré and attackers Jef Mermans, Pol Anoul and Rik Coppens; at the 1954 World Cup, Anoul shone with three goals, and newspaper L'Équipe named Coppens the event's best centre forward. The 1960s and the early 1970s were the glory days of forward and four-time Belgian Golden Shoe Paul Van Himst, later elected Belgian UEFA Golden Player of 1954–2003 and Belgium's Player of the Century by IFFHS.

Eden Hazard, former team captain and second top scoring player for Belgium.

At the 1965 Ballon d'Or, Van Himst ranked fourth, achieving Belgium's highest ever position at the European football election. Decades after Coppens and Van Himst had retired from playing football, a journalist on a Flemish television show asked them "Who was the best, actually?". Coppens replied: "I will ask Paul that ... If Paul says it was me, then he's right". In 1966, striker Raoul Lambert and defending midfielder Wilfried Van Moer joined the national team; while the UEFA praised Lambert for his skills at Euro 1972, Van Moer won three Golden Shoes and equalled Van Himst's fourth rank at the 1980 Ballon d'Or.

Belgium has seen two talented waves since 1980, from which several players in defensive positions gained international fame. In the 1980s and the early 1990s, goalkeepers Jean-Marie Pfaff and Michel Preud'homme were elected best custodians at FIFA World Cups, while FIFA recognised midfielders Jan Ceulemans and Enzo Scifo as the propelling forces of Belgium's 1986 FIFA World Cup squad. In 2002, after all players of this generation had retired, Marc Wilmots became Belgium's top scorer at the World Cup with five goals.

During the 10 years from 2002 to 2012 in which Belgium failed to qualify for major tournament, another golden generation matured, many of whom gained both prime individual and team awards in foreign European top clubs and competitions. These include defender Vincent Kompany, midfielder Kevin De Bruyne who is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world and his generation; and winger Eden Hazard, who has been praised as one of Chelsea F.C.'s greatest players ever and one of his era's best footballers in the world, in the team, he is ranked only after Romelu Lukaku on Belgium's all-time scoring leaderboard. Honorable mentions of this golden generation are Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Dries Mertens, and Toby Alderweireld. These players helped Belgium finish at the third place of 2018 FIFA World Cup, the team's best result at the tournament and reach number one on FIFA ranking twice, since 2015.

Individual records

Most capped players

Jan Vertonghen is Belgium's most capped players with 153 appearances.

As of 20 June 2023, the RBFA lists 719 players who appeared on the men's senior national team. With 152 caps according to the RBFA, Jan Vertonghen has the most appearances for Belgium. Eden Hazard started the most matches as captain (59). Hector Goetinck had the longest career as an international footballer: 17 years, 6 months and 10 days.

As of 19 November 2023. The records are collected based on data from FIFA and RSSSF. Statistics include three matches that are recognised by FIFA.
Players in bold are still active with Belgium.
Rank Player Caps Goals Position Belgium career
1 Jan Vertonghen 153 10 DF 2007–present
2 Axel Witsel 130 12 MF 2008–2022
3 Toby Alderweireld 127 5 DF 2009–2022
4 Eden Hazard 126 33 MF/FW 2008–2022
5 Romelu Lukaku 113 83 FW 2010–present
6 Dries Mertens 109 21 FW 2011–present
7 Thibaut Courtois 102 0 GK 2011–present
8 Kevin De Bruyne 99 26 MF 2010–present
9 Jan Ceulemans 96 23 MF/FW 1977–1991
10 Timmy Simons 94 6 DF/MF 2001–2016

Top goalscorers

Romelu Lukaku is Belgium's top goalscorers with 83 goals.

Romelu Lukaku is the highest-scoring Belgium player with 83 goals. Those who scored the most goals in one match are Robert De Veen, Bert De Cleyn and Josip Weber with five; Lukaku holds the record for the most hat-tricks with four. Belgium's fastest goal after the initial kick-off was scored by Christian Benteke, 8.1 seconds into a match against Gibraltar on 10 October 2016.

As of 19 November 2023. The records are collected based on data from FIFA and RSSSF. Statistics include three matches that are unrecognised by FIFA.
Players in bold are still active with Belgium.
Rank Player Goals Caps Ratio Belgium career
1 Romelu Lukaku (list) 83 113 0.73 2010–present
2 Eden Hazard 33 126 0.26 2008–2022
3 Bernard Voorhoof 30 61 0.49 1928–1940
Paul Van Himst 30 81 0.37 1960–1974
5 Marc Wilmots 28 70 0.4 1990–2002
6 Michy Batshuayi 27 53 0.51 2015–present
Joseph Mermans 27 56 0.48 1945–1956
8 Robert De Veen 26 23 1.13 1906–1913
Raymond Braine 26 55 0.47 1925–1939
Kevin De Bruyne 26 99 0.26 2010–present

Competitive record

Overview
Event 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place 4th Place
FIFA World Cup 0 0 1 1
UEFA European Championship 0 1 1 0
UEFA Nations League 0 0 0 1
Olympic Games 1 0 1 1
Total 1 1 3 3

FIFA World Cup

Belgium failed to progress past the first round of their earliest five World Cup participations. After two scoreless defeats at the inaugural World Cup in 1930, the team scored in their first-round knockout matches in the 1934 and 1938 editions—but only enough to save their honours. In 1954, they drew with England (4–4 after extra time), and in 1970, they won their first World Cup match, against El Salvador (3–0).

From 1982 until 2002, Belgium qualified for six successive World Cup, and in the tournament final they advanced beyond the first round five times. In the 1982 FIFA World Cup opener, Belgium beat defending champions Argentina 1–0. Their tournament ended in the second group stage, after a Polish hat-trick by Zbigniew Boniek and a 0–1 loss against the Soviet Union.

Match phase with aerial play
United States–Belgium in 1930 was the joint first ever World Cup match.

At Mexico 1986, the Belgian team achieved their then best-ever World Cup run at the time. In the knockout phase as underdogs they beat the Soviets after extra time (3–4); the unnoticed offside position of Jan Ceulemans, during the initial ninety minutes, allowed him to equalise (2–2) and force the match into extra time. They also beat Spain, in a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw, but lost to eventual champions Argentina in the semi-finals 2–0, and France in the third-place match (4–2).

In the 1990 FIFA World Cup, Belgium dominated periods of their second-round match against England; Enzo Scifo and Jan Ceulemans hit the woodwork. David Platt's volley in the final minute of extra time, described as "nearly blind" by Richard Witzig, avoided an apparently goalless draw and led to the sudden elimination of the Belgians.

In 1994, a 3–2 defeat to defending champions Germany saw Belgium go out in the second round again. Afterwards, the entire Belgian delegation criticised referee Kurt Röthlisberger for not awarding a penalty for a foul on Belgian Josip Weber. Three draws in the group stage of the 1998 World Cup were insufficient for Belgium to reach the knockout stage. With two draws, the 2002 FIFA World Cup started poorly for Belgium, but they won the decisive group match against Russia 3–2. In the second round, they faced eventual World Cup winners Brazil; Belgium lost 2–0 after Marc Wilmots' headed opening goal was disallowed due to a "phantom foul" on Roque Júnior, as Witzig named it.

In 2014, Belgium beat all their group opponents with a single-goal difference. Thereafter, they played an entertaining round of 16 match against the United States, in which American goalkeeper Tim Howard made 15 saves. However, they defeated the United States 2–1 in extra time. In a balanced quarter-finals, Argentina eliminated Belgium, after a 1–0 victory.

At the 2018 World Cup, Belgium started with five consecutive victories (including group wins over Panama, Tunisia and England). In the fourth, in the round of 16 match against Japan, they suffered a major setback in the second half by being led 0–2. However, Japan, which displayed a very open and offensive game, did not withdraw sufficiently in defense and left a lot of opportunities to Belgium who turned the tide and eventually won (3–2) with goals from Jan Vertonghen and late substitutes Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli. Belgium then defeated World Cup favourites Brazil 2–1 on the back of an early Fernandinho own goal and a goal by Kevin De Bruyne, and reached the semi-finals. Belgium lost to France 0–1 in the semi-finals, as France displays a style of play opposite to that of Japan by basing themselves above all on a rigorous defense, the possession left to the adversary and fast counter-attacks (which aroused criticisms from certain Belgian players on the French style of play); but rebounded to win 2–0 in their second victory over England in the tournament to secure third place and the best ever World Cup result for the Belgian national team. Some players that notably contributed were captain Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku, who were later recognised by FIFA as the tournament second best player (Silver Ball), best goalkeeper (Golden Glove) and third top scorer (Bronze Boot), respectively.

FIFA World Cup Qualification
Year Host(s) Round Pld W D L GF GA Squad Pos. Pld W D L GF GA
1930  Uruguay Group stage 2 0 0 2 0 4 Squad Participated as invitees
1934  Italy Round of 16 1 0 0 1 2 5 Squad 2nd 2 0 1 1 6 8
1938  France 1 0 0 1 1 3 Squad 2nd 2 1 1 0 4 3
1950  Brazil Did not enter Did not enter
1954   Switzerland Group stage 2 0 1 1 5 8 Squad 1st 4 3 1 0 11 6
1958  Sweden Did not qualify 2nd 4 2 1 1 16 11
1962  Chile 3rd 4 0 0 4 3 10
1966  England Play-off 5 3 0 2 12 5
1970  Mexico Group stage 3 1 0 2 4 5 Squad 1st 6 4 1 1 14 8
1974  West Germany Did not qualify 2nd 6 4 2 0 12 0
1978  Argentina 2nd 6 3 0 3 7 6
1982  Spain Second group stage 5 2 1 2 3 5 Squad 1st 8 5 1 2 12 9
1986  Mexico Fourth place 7 2 2 3 12 15 Squad Play-off 8 4 2 2 9 5
1990  Italy Round of 16 4 2 0 2 6 4 Squad 1st 8 4 4 0 15 5
1994  United States 4 2 0 2 4 4 Squad 2nd 10 7 1 2 16 5
1998  France Group stage 3 0 3 0 3 3 Squad Play-off 10 7 1 2 23 13
2002  South Korea
 Japan
Round of 16 4 1 2 1 6 7 Squad Play-off 10 7 2 1 27 6
2006  Germany Did not qualify 4th 10 3 3 4 16 11
2010  South Africa 4th 10 3 1 6 13 20
2014  Brazil Quarter-finals 5 4 0 1 6 3 Squad 1st 10 8 2 0 18 4
2018  Russia Third place 7 6 0 1 16 6 Squad 1st 10 9 1 0 43 6
2022  Qatar Group stage 3 1 1 1 1 2 Squad 1st 8 6 2 0 25 6
2026  Canada
 Mexico
 United States
To be determined To be determined
2030  Morocco
 Portugal
 Spain
2034  Saudi Arabia
Total Third place 51 21 10 20 69 74 14/22 141 83 27 31 302 147
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place  

UEFA European Championship

Scheme of football pitch with the line-ups of a red team in 4-4-2 formation against a white team in 5-3-2 formation
Line-ups of the Euro 1980 final: Belgium (red) against West Germany

With only six successful qualification campaigns out of sixteen, Belgium's performance in the European Championship does not compare to their World Cup record, yet it holds the highest record compare to their World Cup performance. Belgium has hosted or co-hosted the event twice; they were chosen to accommodate the UEFA Euro 1972 from three candidates, and hosted UEFA Euro 2000 with the Netherlands.

At Euro 1972, Belgium finished third after losing 1–2 against West Germany and beating Hungary 2–1. The team's best continental result is their second place at Euro 1980 in Italy. By finishing as group winners, Belgium reached the final, to face West Germany. The West German Horst Hrubesch scored first, but René Vandereycken equalised courtesy of a penalty. Two minutes before the regular playing time ended, Hrubesch scored again denying Belgium a first European title.

At Euro 1984, in their last and decisive group match against Denmark, the Belgian team took a 0–2 lead, but the Danes won the match 3–2. Sixteen years later, Belgium automatically reappeared at UEFA's national team tournament as co-hosts. After winning the Euro 2000 opener against Sweden 2–1, two 2–0 losses against eventual runners-up Italy and Turkey eliminated the Belgians from the tournament by the end of the group stage.

In spite of winning with broad margins against the Republic of Ireland (3–0) and Hungary (0–4) at Euro 2016, Belgium exited in the quarter-finals. As during the tournament qualifiers, Wales defeated Belgium. This time by 3–1.

UEFA European Championship Qualifying
Year Host(s) Round Pld W D L GF GA Squad Pos. Pld W D L GF GA
1960  France Did not enter Did not enter
1964  Spain Did not qualify Preliminary round 2 0 0 2 2 4
1968  Italy 2nd 6 3 1 2 14 9
1972  Belgium Third place 2 1 0 1 3 3 Squad Quarter-finals 8 5 2 1 13 4
1976  Yugoslavia Did not qualify Quarter-finals 8 3 2 3 7 10
1980  Italy Runners-up 4 1 2 1 4 4 Squad 1st 8 4 4 0 12 5
1984  France Group stage 3 1 0 2 4 8 Squad 1st 6 4 1 1 12 8
1988  West Germany Did not qualify 3rd 8 3 3 2 16 8
1992  Sweden 3rd 6 2 1 3 7 6
1996  England 3rd 10 4 3 3 17 13
2000  Belgium
 Netherlands
Group stage 3 1 0 2 2 5 Squad Qualified as hosts
2004  Portugal Did not qualify 3rd 8 5 1 2 11 9
2008  Austria
  Switzerland
5th 14 5 3 6 14 16
2012  Poland
 Ukraine
3rd 10 4 3 3 21 15
2016  France Quarter-finals 5 3 0 2 9 5 Squad 1st 10 7 2 1 24 5
2020  Europe 5 4 0 1 9 3 Squad 1st 10 10 0 0 40 3
2024  Germany Qualified 1st 8 6 2 0 22 4
2028  United Kingdom
 Ireland
To be determined To be determined
2032  Italy
 Turkey
Total Runners-up 22 11 2 9 31 28 7/17 122 65 28 29 232 119
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place/Semi-finalists

UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League
League phase Finals
Season LG Grp Pos Pld W D L GF GA P/R RK Year Host(s) Pos Pld W D L GF GA Squad
2018–19 A 2 2nd 4 3 0 1 9 6 Same position 5th 2019  Portugal Did not qualify
2020–21 A 2 1st 6 5 0 1 16 6 Same position 4th 2021  Italy 4th 2 0 0 2 3 5 Squad
2022–23 A 4 2nd 6 3 1 2 11 8 Same position 7th 2023  Netherlands Did not qualify
2024–25 A To be determined 2025 To be determined
Total 16 11 1 4 36 20 5th 1/3 2 0 0 2 3 5
  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place  

Olympic Games

Aerial play with two Belgian players and the Luxembourg keeper trying to touch the ball
Hectic phase during the goal-rich Olympic win against Luxembourg in 1928 (5–3)

Football tournament for senior men's national teams took place in six Summer Olympic between 1908 and 1936. The Belgian squad participated in all three Football at the Summer Olympics in the 1920s and kept the gold medal at home at the 1920 edition. Apart from the proper national team, two other Belgian delegations appeared at the Olympic. At the 1900 Summer Olympic, a Belgian representation with mainly students won bronze, and at the 2008 edition, Belgium's U-23 selection placed fourth.

Belgium's 1920 Olympic squad was given a bye into the quarter-finals, where they won 3–1 against Spain, and reached the semi-finals, where they beat the Netherlands 3–0. In the first half of the final against Czechoslovakia, the Belgians led 2–0. Forward Robert Coppée converted a disputed early penalty, and the action in which attacker Henri Larnoe doubled the score was also a matter of debate. After the dismissal of the Czechoslovak left-back Karel Steiner, the discontented visitors left the pitch in the 40th minute. Afterwards, the away team reported their reasons for protest to the Olympic organisation; these complaints were dismissed and the Czechoslovaks were disqualified. The 2–0 score was allowed to stand and Belgium were crowned the champions.

Summer Olympic Games
Year Host(s) Round Pld W D L GF GA Squad
1896  Greece No Olympic football tournament
1900  France Bronze medal 1 0 0 1 2 6 Squad
1904 to 1912 Did not enter
1920  Belgium Gold medal 3 3 0 0 8 1 Squad
1924  France Round of 16 1 0 0 1 1 8 Squad
1928  Netherlands Quarter-finals 3 1 0 2 9 12 Squad
1932  United States No Olympic football tournament
1936 to 1976 Did not Enter
1980 to 1984 Did not qualify
1988  South Korea Did not Enter
1992 to present See Belgium national under-23 team
Total Gold medal 14 7 0 7 27 37
  Gold medal    Silver medal    Bronze medal    Fourth place  

Olympic Games has been an under-23 tournament since 1992 (with three players of over 23 years of age allowed in the squad).

Honours

Belgium's 1920 Olympic champions, and one of the 154 gold medals awarded at these Games of the VII Olympic

Titles

Awards

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e Caps and goals against Romania on 15 (actually 14) November 2012, against Luxembourg on 26 May 2014 and against Czech Republic on 5 June 2017 were counted by RBFA but are not officially recognised by FIFA – the former two due to an excessive number of substitutions according to the Laws of the Game, the latter because the Belgian and Czech football federations were too late in requesting an official match.
  2. ^ Dutch: Belgisch nationaal voetbalelftal
    French: Équipe nationale belge de football
    German: Belgische Fußballnationalmannschaft
  3. ^ UBSFA was the acronym for the organisation's French name: Union Belge des Sociétés de Football-Association.
    In 1920 it received the title of "Royal Union" for its 25th year of existence, and hence became the Royal Belgian Football Association.
  4. ^ Even in their last match of 1980, against Cyprus on 21 December, Belgium played in an Adidas outfit. This suggests that Admiral's sponsorship started in 1981, contrary to what the 2014 article stated.
  5. ^ The timeline in the 2014 overview article stated the switch from Diadora to Nike happened in 1998. However, the 1999 article focused on this kit sponsor change which took place in mid-1999.
  6. ^ This streak started in September 2016 and does not include the friendly win against Czech Republic on 5 June 2017; this match is not FIFA-recognised since the Belgian and Czech football federations were too late in asking that it would be official.
  7. ^ Due to the Israel–Hamas war, Israel are required to play their home matches at neutral venues until further notice.
  8. ^ The interim managers were Louis Nicolay and Franky Vercauteren.
  9. ^ Prime individual awards include being elected the season's or year's best player of a competition; prime team awards equal winning a competition. National top divisions, main national cup competitions, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are considered.
  10. ^ Note that the RBFA does not count caps earned in the Belgian seven Summer Olympics matches, and that it does include Belgium's friendlies on 14 November 2012, 26 May 2014 and 5 June 2017 that are FIFA-recognised.
  11. ^ Note that the RBFA does not count caps earned in the Belgian seven Summer Olympics matches, and that it does include Belgium's friendlies on 14 November 2012, 26 May 2014 and 5 June 2017 that are not FIFA-recognised – the former two due to an excessive number of substitutions according to the Laws of the Game, the latter because of a lacking official request.
  12. ^ FIFA's initial match statistics showed 16 saves, and many news sources continue to use this number. The official FIFA statistics were updated on 5 July 2014 to show 15 saves.
  13. ^ The other bids were from England and Italy, whose teams did not reach the semi-finals.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 15 February 2024. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  2. ^ a b Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 15 February 2024. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  3. ^ See:* Goldblatt 2008, p. 120, * de Vries 2007, p. 57, * Kassimeris 2007, p. 12.
  4. ^ Vanysacker, Dries (21 May 2015). "Belgische voetbalgeschiedenis begon in Gent" [Belgian football history began in Ghent]. Eos (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  5. ^ Guldemont & Deps 1995, p. 64.
  6. ^ a b c "Coupe Vanden Abeele". 9 June 2022. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  7. ^ a b c Fraiponts & Willocx 2003.
  8. ^ a b Verkamman, Matty (9 January 1999). "Interlandvoetbal om 'koperen dingetje'/Sporteeuw (2) – 1901" [International football for 'the copper thingy'/Sports Century (2) – 1901]. Trouw (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  9. ^ a b Hubert 1980, p. 13.
  10. ^ "Belgium v France − a 109-year-old rivalry". UEFA. 13 August 2013. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  11. ^ "History of FIFA – Foundation". FIFA. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  12. ^ Parrish & Nauright 2014, p. xv.
  13. ^ a b Boin 1945.
  14. ^ a b Guldemont & Deps 1995, p. 65.
  15. ^ a b c Mubarak, Hassanin (7 August 2003). "Belgium National Team Coaches". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Historique de l'URBSFA" [History of the RBFA] (in French). RBFA. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  17. ^ a b "The RBFA's History". RBFA. Archived from the original on 28 June 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  18. ^ a b Henshaw 1979, p. 75.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Stokkermans, Karel. "Belgium – List of International Matches". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Frankrijk–België" [France–Belgium]. De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 21 March 1916. Retrieved 11 June 2015 – via Delpher.
  21. ^ a b c Fauria í García, Juan (1993). "The 1920 Football (Soccer) Tournament" (PDF). ISOH Magazine. 1 (4): 5–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  22. ^ a b c d e Henshaw 1979, p. 76.
  23. ^ "Belgium in exile - Belgische regering, vluchtelingen en soldaten in Groot-Brittannië" [Belgium in exile - Belgian government, refugees and soldiers in Great Britain] (PDF). Catalogus van de Gelijknamige Tentoonstelling in Het Algemeen Rijksarchief te Brussel (in Dutch). National Archives of Belgium: 31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  24. ^ Chaplin, Mark (5 May 2014). "The birth of UEFA". UEFA. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  25. ^ "België wist Engeland een gelijk spel af te dwingen" [Belgium managed to enforce a draw against England]. Amigoe di Curaçao (in Dutch). 18 June 1954. Retrieved 19 December 2016 – via Delpher.
  26. ^ a b c d "World Cup 1954 finals". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
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Bibliography

Further reading

  • Aerts, Bart; Buyse, Frank; Colin, François; Cornez, Pierre; Decoster, Gilles; Deferme, Dirk; et al. (2013). De Rode Duivels. Het officiële boek [The Red Devils. The official book] (in Dutch). Veurne: Uitgeverij Kannibaal. ISBN 978-94-91376-66-5.
  • Colin, François (2014). De Rode Duivels 1900–2014 [The Red Devils 1900–2014] (in Dutch). Veurne: Uitgeverij Kannibaal. ISBN 978-94-91376-77-1.
  • Hubert, Christian (1994). De Montevideo à Orlando [From Montevideo to Orlando] (in French). Brussels: Labor. ISBN 978-2-8040-1009-6.
  • Hubert, Christian (2006). Le siècle des Diables Rouges [The century of the Red Devils] (in French). Brussels: Luc Pire. ISBN 978-2-87415-684-7.

External links