September 19, 2021

Belgium, all about the team

The Red Devils. Their nickname comes from afar. It is the journalist Pierre Walckiers who is the author in the columns of Sports life. In 1905, he welcomed the large victory of the Belgians against their Dutch neighbors (5-0) by calling them “Red devils”, because of the color of their jersey. The nickname has remained, even if the Belgians simply speak of the “Devils”.

  • The calendar (French time)

June 12: Belgium v ​​Russia, 9 p.m., in Saint Petersburg

June 17: Belgium v ​​Denmark, 6 p.m., in Copenhagen

June 21: Belgium v ​​Finland, 9 p.m., in St. Petersburg

The first two of each group as well as the four best thirds qualify.

  • The team that should play

Thibaut Courtois – Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Jan Vertonghen – Thorgan Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Youri Tielemans, Eden Hazard – Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku.

This is the sixth participation of Belgium, which was already a finalist in 1980 (beaten by the FRG) and a semi-finalist in 1972.

  • The coach: Roberto Martinez

If Noël Le Graët ensures that, him president of the French Federation, the Blues will never have a foreign coach, the Devils are far from being so categorical: they have been headed by a Spaniard since August 2016. Modest player , Roberto Martinez skimmed the 3e and 4e English divisions before establishing himself as an innovative coach in the United Kingdom (in Swansea, Wigan then Everton).

With him, his teams master the ball and play shimmering football. “I do not believe that less flowery football will bring us more success”, still assured at the beginning of the year this technician, who seems decided to convert neither to pragmatism nor to victory at any cost. « We have a team that has to take risks, that wants the ball, that wants to score goals and offer attacking football. “ An entire program.

Read: 2018 World Cup: Lukaku, the devil in the body
  • A player: Kevin De Bruyne

For Marc Wilmots, his former coach, “ he is probably the best player of all time from a collective point of view ”. Pep Guardiola, his manager at Manchester City, says more or less the same: “Kevin is one of the best I have coached in my entire life. » The words of a man who still led Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Henry.

Do not throw any more. “KDB” is not far from being the best midfielder in the world of football. Why ? Because he knows how to do everything: run for two, collect balls, distribute caviar, organize the game, and even score his fifteen goals per season. As he approaches his thirties, the former KRC Genk would have everything to be a star… Except perhaps the desire and character.

Fleeing with the media, not always convenient (as when he insults a collector who is too slow to give him the ball), De Bruyne is the type to thank the Brussels public who came to congratulate them on their 3rd place at the 2018 World Cup with a legendary outing. : “My French is not the best, that’s why I say… I don’t give a fuck! Obviously, the boy prefers to speak with his feet.

Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, in the 2022 World Cup qualifying match against Wales, on March 24, 2021, in Leuven (Belgium).
  • It happened to Euro

Which team can sit down at the Euro table and boast: “I have a 0-0 as a legendary match” ? Perhaps Latvia, which still celebrates its goalless draw against Germany in 2004. Or Italy, heroic against the Dutch angry with the penalties four years earlier. Finally, above all, Belgium in 1980.

Read also A look back at… Italy – Netherlands 2000: praise for a scoreless match

Promised in last place in a group they share with England, Spain and Italy, the Devils are nevertheless in a favorable position before the last match against the National. A draw is enough for the Belgians to reach the final to the detriment of the host country. At the Olympic stadium in Rome, Guy Thys’ men bend, but do not break.

In goal, the whimsical Jean-Marie Pfaff made several decisive saves. “We didn’t have a huge raw talent, but a big heart like that”, praises the one who will sell his hectic family life on a reality show, “De Pfaffs”, in 2003. Despite its defeat in the final against the FRG (2-1), Belgium now counts; she will achieve a beautiful World Cup six years later (4e), this time with a new cult match: a 4-3 victory against the USSR.

Brussels, capital of Europe since 1958, it is never more than provisional destined to last. While Jean Monnet dreamed of seeing the future district of La Défense become the nerve center of the European organization, the Germans did not want to hear about Paris, while the Italians only cared for Milan. Brussels then appears as an acceptable compromise for the six member states of the EEC: its geographical location is central, and it has enough space to accommodate the future European quarter.

In 1986, Belgium chose a schoolgirl to represent it: Sandra Kim. In Bergen (Norway), the teenager sings about her love of life and gives her country her first victory. But a controversy spoils the party. The singer’s manager and the Belgian delegation have indeed lied about the age of Sandra Caldarone (her real name), who is not 15, as announced, but two younger. Switzerland (2e) will submit a request for disqualification. If Sandra Kim still retains her victory, her case sets a precedent. From 1990, you will have to be at least 16 years old to participate in the competition.

So yes, it’s not the most practical dish to enjoy in front of your TV, and it also requires you to cook in the middle of the afternoon for a game in the evening. But it is impossible not to recommend the Flemish stew. A dark beer is recommended for cooking, but you can accompany it with a blonde or a redhead. For the fries, we recommend cooking in beef fat. You must not shy away from your pleasure.