Group E: Belgium        Castellano   Page 2

Argentina  2

Austria  2

Belgium  2

Brazil  2

Bulgaria  2

Cameroon  2

Chile  2

Colombia  2

Croatia  2

Denmark  2

England  2

France  2

Germany  2

Iran  2

Italy  2

Jamaica  2

Japan  2

México  2

Morocco  2

Netherlands  2

Nigeria  2

Norway  2

Paraguay  2

Romania  2

Saudi Arabia  2

Scotland  2

South Africa 2

South Korea

Spainin  2

Tunisia  2

United States  2

Yugoslavia  2

 Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Football Assoc. 

Coach: Georges LEEKENS

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vs. HOLLAND

13.06.98 Saint-Denis

vs. MEXICO

20.06.98 Bordeaux

vs. KOREA

25.06.98 Paris

Team Colors: Red, Red pants

Confederation: UEFA

10th World Cup finals appearance

4th 1986 World Cup

Finalist 1980 European Championships

Key players:

F Luc Nills (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands),

M Enzo Scifo (Anderlecht, Belgium),

F Luis Oliveira (Fiorentina, Italy),

F Lokanda M'Penza (Standard),

M Mbo M'Penza (Standard).

 

Belgium - United States

Keep an Eye on: Luc Nilis: Powerful, a respected striker, a finisher of the highest order, the driving force behind PSV Eindhoven this season.

Franky van der Elst: Now 36, getting on a bit but rejuventated.

Luis Oliveira: silky smooth striker, adds grace to Nilis's power.

Analysis: As a team, Belgium does not inspire. Rebuilt around strong forwards and veteran M Franky van der Elst; defense a weakness.

Belgium stumbled into the World Cup finals, courtesy of an unconvincing play-off success against Ireland over two legs, and will probably stumble out of them at an early stage. At least they should entertain off the pitch, if not on it, with Georges Leekens, the Belgium coach, the master of the bizarre.

History: The first thing most South Americans remember when Belgium is mentioned is the treatment its defenders applied to Diego Maradona in the opening game of the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Hacked from behind, down went Maradona. Maradona would get up and down many more times during the game. The Belgians were going to defend him at all costs and his ankles were the ones with the bullseye that afternoon.

The "Red Devils" have qualified for their fifth successive World Cup finals which places them in a rarified group of six countries who have achieved that feat -- the others being Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Argentina. The Belgians' best performance in a World Cup finals came in 1986 where they lost 2-0 to, who else, Maradonna-inspired Argentina and then 4-2 to France, after extra-time, in the third place play-off.

On the domestic front, Anderlecht have been far and away the most successful side in European competition, winning two European Cup Winners Cups (1976 and '78), the 1983 UEFA Cup and two European Super Cups (1976 and '78). Only two other sides apart from Anderlecht have shown any real European pedigree. Standard Liege reached the 1982 Cup Winners Cup final and were European Cup finalists in 1962 and the 1967 Cup Winners Cup semi-final, while Club Brugges reached the 1976 UEFA Cup final and the 1978 European Cup final.

Belgium have produced several players of real world standing, most particularly in the 1930's Raymond Braine, who played for Beerschot, his striking teammate Rik Coppens and the 50's player Vicky Mees from Antwerp FC, who for a longtime held the record for most caps (67). Former Belgian national coach Paul Van Himst and latterly the enormous but superbly skillful Jan Ceulemans, who now holds the record for caps of 92, are others who have impressed on the world stage.

By contrast Belgium's record in the European Championships has been unimpressive save appearing in the 1980 final, where they lost to Germany in Rome. The Belgian supporters are now basing all their support on the George Leekens coached "red devils". Since Leekens, a former Belgian international defender, took over on February 11 1997 Belgium have won five, drawn one and lost just twice.

According to several of the older players, such as Franky Van der Elst and Enzo Scifo (due to play in his fourth finals), they are happy playing on a team that has rediscovered their unity and their motivation. Several young players, such as Gilles De Bilde (PSV Eindhoven), Michael Goossens (Schalke 04) and Philippe Leonard (AS Monaco), will add a bit of youthful zest to the side alongside Scifo, Van der Elst and others like Marc Wilmots (Schalke 04) and Danny Boffin (FC Metz).

Belgium Home

Belgium Away

Links:

FIFA    CnnSi    ESPN  WorldMedia   Soccernet

World Cup History

Voetbalnieuws uit Belgie
FC Lembeke
Racing Mechelen
Royale Union Saint-Gilloise

Possible Team:

POSITION NAME AGE CAPS

G Filip De Wilde 33 18

G Philippe Vande Walle 36 2

G Dany Verlinden 34 0

D Vital Borkelmans 34 15

D Bertrand Crasson 26 14

D Glen De Boeck 26 4

D Eric Deflandre 24 3

D Bart de Roover 30 5  

D Regis Genaux 24 16

D Philippe Leonard 23 8

D Eric Van Meir 29 10

D Mike Varstraeten 30 3

D Gordan Vidovic 29 4

M Danny Boffin 32 31

M Enzo Scifo 31 79

M Lorenzo Staelens 33 44

M Franky Van der Elst 36 77

M Nico Van Kerckhoven 27 11

M Gert Verheyen 27 11

M Marc Wilmots 28 28

M Gert Claessens 25 2

F Gilles De Bilde 26 15

F Michael Goossens 24 9

F Emile Lokonda Mpenza 19 5

F Luc Nilis 30 43  

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