Belgium National Team

The Belgian National Football Team at the UEFA European Championships

While Belgian national football team had much more success at the World Cup, they were not that successful at the UEFA European Championship. So far, they have managed to qualify only for five European Championships which is far less than their World Cup record. It is a really curious case of how Belgium was not able to qualify for more European Championships because they played well in the qualifications for the World Cup. Despite that, the best result that Belgian national football team achieved at some international competition happen at the European Championship but a long time ago. Since then, they were not able to come even close to that result and it seems like Belgium has some sort of curse when it comes to their performances at the European Championships.

20th Century

Belgium made their debut at the UEFA European Championship back in 1972 when they hosted the competition. At that Championship, Belgium reached the semi-finals where they faced West Germany for the place in the final. However, in that game, West Germany was too strong and that game finished with the score 1-2. The only goal scorer in that game for Belgium was Odilon Polleunis. After the defeat against West Germany in the semi-finals, Belgium played against Hungary for the third place and they were a success. They defeated Hungary with the score 1-2 and the goal scorers for Belgium in that game were Raoul Lambert and Paul Van Himst.

Belgium would miss the 1976 Euro but they would come back in style at the 1980 European Championship that was held in Italy. In the group stage, Belgium won the first place after defeating Spain and a draw against England. That year, Belgium would go on to win their place in the final where they once again faced West Germany. Just like before, West Germany was more successful in that game and the result in that game was the same, 2-1. That was the best result that Belgian national football team has managed to achieve at either FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship.

At the 1984 Euro in France, Belgium returned to defend their second place. However, they were far away from that kind of performance and they were eliminated in the group stage as they finished in the third place after the completion of the group stage. That was a pretty big hit for Belgian national football team and they would not be able to recover for the next 16 years. Belgium would go on to miss the next three European Championships which resulted in a very bad atmosphere in the country and among the players.

21st Century

Finally, in 2000, Belgium managed to qualify once again for the European Championship. At the start of the competition, a lot of was expected from Belgium but they failed to meet those expectations. In the group stage of the Euro, Belgium managed to defeat only Sweden that finished in the last place in the group. In the remaining two games of the group stage, Belgium was defeated in both by Italy and Turkey. As a result of those defeats, Belgium finished in the third place in the group stage and they were eliminated from the competition. Many experts agree that the Belgian performance at that Euro is one of the biggest disappointments ever at the European Championships.

After 2000, it would take another 16 years for Belgian national football team to qualify for the UEFA European Championship again. In 2016, Belgium came at the 2016 Euro as one of the biggest favorites for the title if not the biggest. They did not start the competition very well as they were defeated by Italy with the score 0-2. However, in the remaining two games, Belgium managed to defeat Republic of Ireland and Sweden which resulted in them finishing the group stage in the second place and advancing to the knockout stage.

In the first round of knockout stage, Belgium faced Hungary and they did not have any problems in that game as they won the game with the score 0-4. That game only confirmed what everybody already knew and that is that Belgium is one of the biggest favorites for the title with its array of top class players playing all over Europe. However, things would go terribly wrong in the quarter-final match that Belgium played against Wales.

Belgium did not display in that game any of the characteristics that made them one of the best teams in the world and because of that, Wales had a huge advantage. In the end, Belgium was eliminated from the competition in what could possibly be one of their worst games ever at the European Championships. The result of that game was 3-1 in favor of Wales but the situation in the field was much worse for the Belgian side.

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