Belgium National Football Team History
Belgium’s first official match was a 3-3 draw to France in 1904. The Belgium national football team won their first trophy in 1920, taking gold at the Summer Olympics on home soil.
The first Belgium FIFA World Cup appearance was at the first World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay. Belgium lost their only two matches. In fact, Belgium lost every match at their first three World Cups, the ones in 1930, 1934, and 1938.
World War II prevented the organization of tournaments during much of the 1940s, and the next couple of decades were tough for Belgian Soccer. The Red Devils qualified for one of just eight major tournaments during the 1950s and 1960s. At the 1954 World Cup, Belgium surprisingly drew 4-4 with England but lost 4-1 to Italy, which spelled elimination.
Belgium were sometimes referred to with the title of “World Champion of Friendlies.” The Red Devils defeated West Germany, Hungary, and Brazil in exhibitions but floundered in major tournaments.
At long last, Belgium got their first FIFA World Cup win by defeating Honduras 3-0 at the 1970 World Cup. Wilfried van Moer scored two goals in the match, but Belgium was eliminated in the group stage once again.
Belgium national football team qualified for the European Championship for the first time in 1972 and ended up winning third place. While the Red Devils missed out on the next three tournaments, 1980 marks their best-ever finish at a major tournament.
At Euro 1980, Belgium was runners-up and Jan Ceulemans made the team of the tournament. The Red Devils defeated Spain and drew with England and Italy to advance to the final versus West Germany. The West Germans defeated an upstart Belgium side 2-1.
In 1982, Belgium national football team qualified for the first of six consecutive World Cups. Belgium’s performance during this period was much better than their previous five appearances.
At Mexico 1986, Belgium advanced out of the group stage for the first time, despite finishing third in their group. In the knockout rounds, they went on an improbable run.
They defeated the Soviet Union 4-3 in extra time in the round of 16 and beat Spain in penalties in the quarterfinals. Belgium fell in both the semifinals to Argentina and the third-place game to France. Enzo Scifo won the tournament’s Best Young Player award.
Belgium national football team also made the World Cup round of 16 in 1990, 1994, and 2002 but only managed to qualify for one European Championship during this period. Even though the Red Devils didn’t make it out of the group stage at World Cup 1998, they finished undefeated by drawing all three matches.
After a 12-year hiatus, an exciting Belgium team returned to the Brazil 2014 World Cup. With a mix of experienced defenders -like Vincent Kompany and Daniel van Buyten- and talented young attackers -like Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, and Eden Hazard- the Belgium national football team won all three group games.
Then, Tim Howard made a record breaking 16 saves in the round of 16 for the USA, but Belgium still managed to advance. In just their second-ever World Cup quarterfinal, Belgium fell to eventual finalists Argentina.
The Red Devils’ performance was even better during Russia 2018. Once again, they won all three group games and ended up winning the Bronze medal for the first time ever. Eden Hazard won the Silver Boot as the tournament’s second-best player, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the Golden Glove.
- Romelu Lukaku – Goals: 68
- Eden Hazard – Goals: 33
- Bernard Voorhoof – Goals: 30
- Paul Van Himst – Goals: 30
- Marc Wilmots – Goals: 29
Belgium Soccer Leagues & Clubs:
The Belgian First Division or Pro League is the top-tier Belgium soccer league. It currently has 18 teams but the Pro League will have16 teams from the 2023–24 season on.
It has a rare format in European football in the sense that the top-four teams contest a double-round robin playoff to determine a winner. There is also a UEFA Conference League qualifier playoff for the next four teams in the standings. Half of the teams’ points from the regular season carry over into the playoff.
The Challenger Pro League is the second-tier football league for Belgium soccer teams. It was instituted in 2016 and replaced the former Second Division. The top team is promoted to the Belgian Pro League at the end of the season.
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Belgium Cups & Tournaments
The most important domestic cup competition in Belgium is the Belgian Cup. Now called the Croky Cup for sponsorship reasons, the Belgian Cup was first played in 1908. The single-elimination tournament is open to any team from the top five tiers of Belgian football. Even some teams from tiers 6-8 will participate.
The final is played at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels. Club Brugge is the most successful club in the history of the competition, with 11 titles. In 2022, KAA Gent won their fourth Belgian Cup on penalties. The winner of the Belgian Cup advances to that year’s Belgian Super Cup, the only other domestic cup competition. They will also earn a place in the UEFA Europa League.
Belgium Soccer Betting Information
The Belgian Pro League is a difficult league to bet on but can be rewarding for those who dare to dive into the details. With two separate playoff rounds, games can vary in importance, and there are plenty of opportunities to bet on games. The Pro League had an unusually high away win percentage in 2021-22, at 36 percent.
One of the better Belgium soccer betting tips in recent seasons has been betting on Club Brugge to win the title. As of the start of the 2022-23 season, they’ve won the title three times in a row. There were draws in 24 percent of matches in the 2021-22 season, and the home team won 42 percent of the time.
Both teams scored in 52 percent of matches last season, and 57 percent of the goals were scored in the second half. Totals betting is popular in the Pro League, and there were 2.91 goals per game last season, on average. Still, 54 percent of the matches went over 2½ goals.
For risk seekers, you can also bet on the exact scoreline of matches. The most common scoreline in Belgian Pro League matches was 1-1, which happened 10.3 percent of the time.
Big things were expected of Belgium at Euro 2020, but they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by eventual champions, Italy. Belgium’s golden generation has never quite reached the heights expected of them. Star players Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are now in their 30s. In this light, the Qatar 2022 World Cup could be Belgium’s last good chance to win a major tournament for a while.
Roberto Martinez has been the manager of the Red Devils since 2016. The World Cup will likely be a referendum on his future, after finishing in third place in 2018. In a group with Croatia, Morocco, and Canada, Belgium soccer betting is popular.
Belgium are priced at -275 odds to win. Unfortunately for Belgium, they’ll likely play either Germany or Spain if they advance to the round of 16. That’s a major reason why they have just the ninth-best odds to win their first World Cup.
Currently, Belgium are priced at +1400 odds to hoist the World Cup trophy. That represents an implied 6.7 percent chance of winning. Belgium’s semifinal appearance in 2018 was only their second in 13 previous appearances. Note that they’ve won all of their group-stage matches in their last two tournaments.
Belgium have a deep squad and are currently ranked second in the world. Striker Romelu Lukaku is key for Belgium, and he benefits from service from De Bruyne. Lukaku comes into the tournament priced at +2000 odds to win the Golden Boot.
Belgium has a long soccer history and an underrated domestic league. Given the strength of the national team, Belgium’s soccer profile has risen over the last few years. We’ll likely look back on this generation of Belgian players and marvel at how such a small country produced so many world-class talents.
Domestically, clubs like Club Brugge, Anderlecht, Antwerp and Gent are also regular participants in European competitions. They are constantly near the top of the Belgium soccer league standings. Club Brugge made the 1978 European Cup final, while Mechelen and Anderlecht have European trophies.
Sure, the Pro League may not be the same caliber as the other top European leagues. However, there are plenty of reasons to bet on Belgian soccer. It is the highest-ranked league with a playoff format, where half of the points from the regular season are carried over to the playoff. The goal for Belgian clubs is to reach the top four and secure a place in the tournament. That can mean that late-season matchups have added importance and are suitable for Belgium soccer betting.