Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Belgium Greatest All-time team

Belgium 1986

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index

Belgium won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1920 at home.  However, they did not make any mark on the international game until 1972.  In the quarterfinal of Euro 1972, they beat Italy 2-1 with Paul Van Himst and Wilfried Van Moer each scoring a goal.  The match was considered Belgium's greatest victory up until that point.   The 1980's was great period in Belgium's football history.  Jean Marie-Pfaff, Jan Ceulemans, Franky Van der Elst, Enzo Scifo and Eric Gerets were some of their stars.  They finished second at Euro 1980 and qualified for every WC Finals from 1982 to 2002.  They reached the semifinal at World Cup 1986. In 1982, they upset Argentina, spoiling Diego Maradona's first ever World Cup match.   From 2002 to 2012, the talent seemed to run dry, but a new Golden Generation was born.  Players such as Vincent Kompany, Ed Hazard and Thibaut Courtois are starring again for big clubs in Europe.

GK : Jean Marie-Pfaff
He was one of the best keepers in the world during the 1980's.  He spent most of his professional career with Beveren and Bayern Munich. Pfaff was capped 64 times playing for Belgium, and participated at the Spain 1982 and Mexico 1986

Jean Marie-Pfaff
GK: Michel Preud’Homme
He played for Standard Liège, Mechelen, and Benfica. With Mechelen, he won the Belgian Cup in 1987, the Cup Winner's Cup and the European Super Cup in 1988.  He went to the WC in 1994, where he was voted as the best keeper.

GK: Jean De Bie
He won a Gold Medal for the 1920 Summer Olympics.  He went to the 1930 WC Finals, but did not play. During his career he played mostly for Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles.

RB: Gilbert Van Binst 
He was a part of Belgium that finished third at Euro 1972.   He played for R.S.C. Anderlecht, Toulouse FC, Club Brugge KV and Belgium. 

RB:: Eric Gerets
He is considered one of the greatest European rightbacks in history.
His best career was spent with Standard de Liège and PSV Eindhoven.  He won the 1988 European Cup with PSV.
Gerets was capped 86 times.  He played big role as the Red Devils finished second at the Euro 1980 and reached the semi-final of the WC 1986 Finals.
Eric Gerets

CB: Philippe Albert
He made 41 appearances for the Belgium  from 1987 to 1997, and represented his country at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.  His best club career was perhaps with Newcastle United. He also played for Charleroi, KV Mechelen and Anderlecht in his native Belgium and Fulham in England.

CB: Vincent Kompany
Kompany is widely considered one of the best center-back of his generation.   In 2011-2012, he became the captain of Manchester City, leading his club to win the Premier League that season, their first league title in 44 years.  At time of writing, he earned over 60 caps and played at the WC Finals in 2014.

Vincent Kompany

SW:CB: Walter Meeuws
During his career he played for K. Beerschot V.A.C., Club Brugge K.V., R. Standard de Liège, AFC Ajax, K.V. Mechelen. He earned 46 caps for the Red Devils, and participated in Euro 1980 and Spain 1982.
LB: Alfons Van Brandt  
He played 38 times for the national team between 1950 and 1957.  he went to the WC Finals in 1954.  He was Belgium's Player of the Year in 1955.

LB: Armand Swartenbroeks
He was a member of the Belgium Olympic team, which won the gold medal in 1920 tournament.

CB/LB: Michel Renquin
He played for Standard Liege between 1974 and 1981.  He also played for other clubs in Switzerland and Belgium.  He was a member of the Golden Generation that found successes from Euro 1980 to the WC Finals in 1986.

CM: Wilfried Van Moer
He is considered one of the greatest players from Belgium.  He was capped 57 times between 1970 and 1982.  He was best remembered for a starring role at Euro 1980, where Belgium finished second. He was already 35 years old.  He finished 4th at the European Player of the Year that year.
Wilfried Van Moer

CM: Franky Van Der Elst
He played mainly for Brugge.  He was capped 86 times between 1984 and 1998.  He went to 4 World Cup Finals. He was Belgium Player of the Year in 1990 and 1996. Pele selected him as one of the 125 Greatest Living Players.

AM/CM: Enzo Scifo
Born in Belgium of Italian background.  he made his name with Anderlecht.  He also played in both France and Italy.  He appeared for Belgium in the World Cups of 1986, 1990, 1994, and 1998, playing sixteen games.  He was a star at the WC Finals in 1986 and 1990, where he scored one of the best goals of the tournament in 1990.  For his club career, he played in Belgium, Italy and France.


RW: François Van der Elst
From 1969 to 1980 Van der Elst played for R.S.C. Anderlecht. In 1976 he was part of the 1975–76 European Cup Winners' Cup-winning squad, netting twice in the final against West Ham United (4–2) and, in the following season's league, was crowned the competition's top scorer at 21 goals, as the Brussels side finished in second position. He also played for NY Cosmos and West Ham.  He was capped 44 times and went to Euro 1980.

AM/FW: Eden Hazard
At the time of writing, Eden Hazard has already earned 70 caps and led Belgium to the quarter-final of the WC in 2014.  And he is only 25 years old.  He is regarded one of the best young players in the world.  He played for Lille in France and now, with Chelsea. He won both FWA and PFA Player of the Year for the 2014-2015 season in England.
Eden Hazard

AM/RW/CM: Joseph Jurion
He was an all-time great with Anderlecht.  In 1962, he led his club team to eliminate Real Madrid at the European Cup. He was capped 64 times.

AM/FW: Jan Ceulemans
He is considered one of Belgium's greatest players. He was capped 96 times.  He was instrumental as Beglium reached the Final of Euro 1980 and the semi-final at the 1986 WC Finals.  He spent most of his career with Brugge.
Jan Ceulemans

LW: Franky Vercauteren
He won two Cup Winners' Cup and an UEFA Cup with Anderlecht.  He also played with Nantes in France.  For the national team, he went to the WC Finals in 1982 and 1986, and then, the European Championship in 1984. 

FW/SS: Paul Van Himst 
He is viewed as the greatest Belgian player of all-time. He played mainly for Anderlecht.  He won the Golden Shoe(the Belgian Player of the Year award), a record 4 times. He was capped 80 times.  He put Belgium's football on the map by leading them to 3rd place at Euro 1972.  he also went to Mexico 1970.
Paul Van Himst 
FW: Marc Wilmots
He went to 4 WC Finals(1990, 1994, 1998, 2002), scoring 5 goals for Belgium.  With five goals, he is Belgium's all-time top scorer at the FIFA World Cup.  He won the 1996 UEFA Cup with Schalke 04.  He also played for Sint-Truiden, Mechelen and Standard Liège.

ST: Henri Coppens
He was the star of Belgian football after the War.  He won the Belgian Player of the Year in 1954.  He played for Beerschot VAC.

ST: Raymond Braine
He became the first professional player in Belgium when he joined Sparta Prague in 1930. He was the top scorer in the Czech legue for 1932 and 1934.  He was asked to play for Czechoslovakia in the 1934 WC  Finals, but he refused and Czecholovakia finished second.  He would play for Belgium at the 1938 WC Finals.
Honorable mention
Luc Nilis, Michel Renquin, Lorenzo Staelens, Timmy Simons, René Vandereycken.

Squad explanation
-- Eden Hazard is too young to be included in an all-time team, but I included him anyway. He have done well in a major tournament and did play in at least three great seasons in a major European league.  In 2014-2015, he played liked one of the best players in Europe.  His career has regressed since 2015, but he still remained a top player in the world.  
-- Eric Gerets is probably one of the greatest European fullbacks of all-time.  He would be more highly rated if he is German or Italian.
-- Luc Nilis is the biggest name not selected for the team.
-- Coppens played in an era when Belgium was weak. 
-- Paul Van Himst is often considered the great Belgian footballer.
-- Many of the current generation of Belgian players will make this team one day. Kevin De Bruyne, Radja Nainggolan and Romelu Lukaku are some of the players to be considered in the future.

Starting Lineup
Formation: 4-2-3-1

1 comment: