|Nickname(s)||De Rode Duivels (The Red Devils)|
|Association||Royal Belgian Football Association (KBFV)|
|Highest FIFA ranking||2|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||54|
|First international|| Belgium 3–3 France|
(Brussels, Belgium; May 1, 1904)
|Biggest win|| Belgium 10-0 Switzerland|
(Antwerp, Belgium; February 19, 1912)
|Biggest defeat|| Belgium 0-6 Netherlands|
(Antwerp, Belgium; March 19, 19111)
|World Cup appearances||7 (First in 1906)|
|Best result||Winners, 1922|
|Olympic medal record|
|Gold medal – first place||1920 Antwerp||Team|
Belgium first ever international match was against France in Brussels on the 1st of May 1904. For their opponents, this was also their first international match as it was the first between two independent European countries. The match which had 1500 people watching it, ended in a 3-3 draw and the Évence Coppée Trophy was shared between the two nations. Twelve days later, France and Belgium joined five other national teams to form FIFA.
Belgium formed a rivalry with the Netherlands which spark the Low Countries derby which to this day is still a major rivalry in football matches to this day. Belgium was then one of the original twelve teams that competed in the first FIFA World Cup. The team though struggle in their group, losing to Argentina and Wales. In 1910, William Maxwell who was a former player for Scotland was assigned manager of Belgium as they finished runner-up in the 1910 FIFA World Cup that was held in Austria. Maxwell would lead them in the next World Cup in England where Belgium would finish in the fourth position after losing to the eventual runner-up of England.
Heading into 1920, Belgium competed in their first Olympics at home soil. With them being predicted to win the gold, they went through to the final where they would take on the Netherlands. The match ending in a victory with Robert Coppé and Henri Larnoe scoring the two goals. Then two years later, the 1922 FIFA World Cup was held in the Netherlands and with the team getting a bye into the quarterfinals. They would capitalize on the bye with them being World Champions for the first time with their opponent once again being the Netherlands. They became the first team to win both the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup title.
The success would be only short-lived with the next tournament as they crashed in the quarterfinals stage by Egypt. At the 1926 FIFA World Cup, they were defeated by Austria which caused the retirement of Henri Larnoe after playing twenty-five matches for Belgium. The success was going when they got knocked out in the quarterfinals at the 1928 Summer Olympics before not qualifying for the World Cup in 1930 which was their first time not being in the finals.
Failure at regional
After not getting into the quarter-finals of the 1932 Summer Olympics and just scraping through in the WEFF Championship to make into the playoffs. Belgium struggled to make an impact in Italy with their only win coming from the game against the Irish Free State and a tough draw against Italy.
Qualifying for the 1936 Summer Olympics meant that Belgium had to compete at a regional level to qualify. For them, they had to take on Switzerland, Spain and the Netherlands to make the knock-out stage. But Belgium didn't make an impact with the only point coming from the game against the Netherlands. In the 1937 WEFF Championship, the team failed to qualify out of the group stage as they only scored one point with Ray Braine being the only goal scorer for the team. This also meant that they didn't make it into the World Cup the next year.
The troubling 50s
After getting through a trouble qualifying section which involved having to defeat the Republic of Ireland in the playoff, they weren't expected to make it out of the group stage with the likes of Sweden and Italy as possible qualifiers. In the opening game against the Italians, Albert De Hert scored a late goal to record an upset victory for Belgium as it would put them in a good step to qualify through to the quarter-finals with the only loss being against Sweden. In the quarterfinals, they were outplayed by the British team as they went down 3-0 at Gothenburg to finish in 8th place overall.
The next chance to get through to the World Cup started in 1953 with the qualifying group being France and West Germany. In one of three groups to have a full home and away for the first time format, the country would finish in last place with the only point being a 0-0 draw against the French. During the game in Brussels, the French and Belgian association discuss a possible formation of a European confederation which will be matched with CONMEBOL. After the discussion it was decided to form UEFA with the headquarters being in Brussels.
After they didn't qualify through to the second round of the 1956 European Nations' Cup qualifying after they were defeated by Bulgaria 3-2 over two legs, they were drawn in Group 5 of the 1958 FIFA World Cup qualification with Bulgaria and Austria. Despite some early potential where they knocked over Austria and battled to a 1-1 draw against Bulgaria, they wouldn't qualify through to the 1958 FIFA World Cup after Hans Buzek scored a double against them to knock out Belgium from World Cup qualifying once again.
- Main article: Low Countries derby
FIFA World Cup
Gold Silver Bronze
|FIFA World Cup record|
|1930||Did Not Qualify|
|1938||Did Not Qualify|
|1954||Did Not Qualify|