Euro 2016 Group E

Belgium

13 June – Italy (8pm GMT Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon)

18 June – Republic of Ireland (2pm GMT Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux)

22 June – Sweden (8pm GMT Allianz Riviera, Nice)
 

 

The Belgian Red Devils are travelling to France as one of the favourites to win Euro 2016, a unique status in their history, writes Vincent Van Genechten.

All in Red

Belgian football is alive and kicking. With the disembowelling of their ‘golden generation’, the Red Devils rocketed to the top spot on the FIFA rankings. A solid World Cup run in 2014, where they were eliminated by Argentina (1-0) in the quarter-finals, has only boosted their confidence towards Euro 2016.

Preferred XI: Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vermaelen, Vertonghen; Nainggolan, Witsel; Carrasco, De Bruyne, Hazard; Romelu Lukaku

Jason Denayer is expected to replace the injured Vincent Kompany at centre-back. Belgium thrive on their defensive organisation and offensive creativity, playing three playmakers behind one target striker.

Coach: Marc Wilmots - The 47-year-old was nicknamed "Das Kampfschwein" (The Warpig). Wilmots is Belgium’s all-time leading scorer at World Cups with five goals and became their coach in 2012.

Look out for: Belgium’s playmakers. The Red Devils deploy a couple of star playmakers, with Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Yannick Carrasco expecting to start. This makes Belgium a very creative team.

Did you know?

  • Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini is the current squad’s top-scorer with 15 goals.
  • Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen has the most caps (76) among active players.
  • Belgium have lost just two games since being eliminated by Argentina in the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals (against Wales and Portugal).

Belgium versus…

…Italy P 21 W 4 D 4 L 13 F 24 A 41
…Republic of Ireland P 14 W 5 D 5 L 4 F 25 A24
…Sweden P14 W 7 D 2 L 5 F 22 A 30

Stats

Population: 11.2m

Nickname: De Rode Duivels (The Red Devils)

Calcio fans might remember… Radja Nainggolan Roma (2014-present)

Top Division: Jupiler Pro League

FIFA World Ranking: 2
International honours: None

Most capped player: Jan Ceulemans (96)

Leading international scorer: Paul Van Himst, Bernard Voorhoof (30)

Belgium at the European Championships:


1960 – Did not enter

1964 – Did not qualify

1968 – Did not qualify

1972 – Third place

1976 – Did not qualify

1980 – Runners-up

1984 – Group stage

1988 – Did not qualify

1992 – Did not qualify

1996 – Did not qualify

2000 – Group stage

2004 – Did not qualify

2008 – Did not qualify

2012 – Did not qualify

How they got to Euro 2016: Belgium won Group B during the qualification campaign with 23 points. They drew 1-1 against Bosnia and Herzegovina early on, before only losing points to Wales along the way, drawing 0-0 at home and losing 1-0 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The other teams in the group were Israel, Cyprus, and Andorra.