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December 16, 2013

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Belgium (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Belgium, with 7 other player-options listed).

Filed under: Belgium — admin @ 8:53 pm




Belgium national team. UEFA (Europe). Nickname: Rode Duivels/ Diables Rouges/ Rote Teufel (Red Devils). Home jersey: red with yellow and black trim.
-Belgium is in Group H (with Algeria, South Korea, and Russia). ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group H‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is Belgium’s 12th qualification out of 20 tries.
Belgium has qualified for the World Cup in: 1930, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1970, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2014.
Previous World Cup appearance: 2002, Round of 16/ 1-2-1. Highest World Cup finish: 1986, Fourth Place / 2-2-3.

Population of Belgium: 11.0 million {2012 census}. Capital and largest city: Brussels, pop. 1.8 million (metro area) {2011 figure}.

-Coach of Belgium national team:, Marc Wilmots. ‘Marc Wilmots‘.
-Squad captain, Manchester City CB Vincent Kompany. Vincent Kompany.
From ESPN FC.com, by Roger Bennett, from 7 Sept. 2013, ‘Belgium has talent to spare, but can it win?‘ (espnfc.com/blog).

Below: Theoretical Best XI for Belgium (with 7 other player-options further below) -
[Note: players shown below reflect 2014 WC final roster selection, 'Belgium national football team/current squad' (en.wikipedia.org).]
belgium_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_m-wilmots_c_.gif
Photo and Image credits -
Map of Belgium/EU on globe, by NuclearVacuum at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EU-Belgium
Map of Belgium, by NordNordWest at en.wikipedia.org.
Belgium home jersey, photo from uksoccershop.com/p-30549/2012-13-Belgium-Home-Football-Shirt.
Coach, Mark Wilmots, photo from fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/europe [Belgium team, gallery]
Goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Defenders, Toby Alderweireld (Atlético Madrid), photo from colchonero.com.
Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), photo from football.com.
Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) , photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Midfielders, Kevin De Bruyne (Chelsea), photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Marouane Fellaini (Manchester Utd), photo by Ian Hodgson at dailymail.co.uk.
Axel Witsel (Zenit Saint Petersburg), photo by EuroFootball/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea), photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europevia zimbio.com.
Forwards, Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), photo from 4hdwallpapers.com.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton), photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com
Other options for squad –
Mousa Dembélé (Tottenham), photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Steven Defour (Porto), photo from foradejogo08.blogspot.com.
Kevin Mirallas (Everton), photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Nacer Chadli (Tottenham), photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Divock Origi (Lille), photo by Getty Images via my-sepakbola.com/pencetak-gol-muda-di-ligue-1-prancis.
Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.

Dreis Mertens (Napoli), photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.

Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Belgium national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.

October 12, 2011

Belgium: 2011-12 Belgian Pro League – location map, with 2010-11 attendance data and titles list.

Filed under: Belgium,Football Stadia — admin @ 8:29 pm

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Belgian Pro League




Note: The map includes color swaths which show the Dutch-speaking region (Flanders) and the French-speaking region (Wallonia), as well as the bi-lingual area (Brussels-Capital Region), plus the German-speaking areas of eastern Liège province. The Dutch versus French language issue, along with economic disparities between the better-off Flemish and the poorer Waloon regions are especially relevant now, because that is the root cause of the Belgian government’s now-year-long shutdown {see this article from Tribunemagazine.co.uk, from 14 June, 2011, by Brian Dawson, ‘Silence is not golden in Belgium’s year of living dangerously}’.

The Belgian Pro League is currently ranked #12 in Europe by UEFA [for 2012], up 1 position [from 2011] – UEFA ‘league’ coefficients. The Belgian Pro League, which as a whole drew 11,574 per game in 2010-11, draws better than the top leagues of 3 countries it is ranked below…Portugal (ranked #6/10,080 per game in 2010-11)), Ukraine (ranked #8/9,225 per game in 2010-11), and Greece (ranked #11/6,424 per game).

As of 12 Oct.2011, Anderlecht top the table by 1 point over Gent and Club Brugge.
Belgian Top League- fixtures, results, table (soccerway.com).

The Belgian Pro League is playing it’s 109th season, and it’s third season since the league shrunk down from 18 to 16 teams, started playing during the Christmas/New Year holiday season, and, most controversially, instituted a complex playoff system.

Reigning champions are KRC Genk (Koninklijke Racing Club Genk), who now have won 4 Belgian titles. In May, 2011, Genk won the mini-league, 6-team playoff competition – called Playoff I – over Standard Liège, by half a point. That half-point-difference was the result of the format, which halves each team’s points when the league is split into 3 different mini-leagues from March to May each season (ie, odd-numbered points totals will become numbers with a .5 at the end of it) . The vast majority of Belgian fans are vehemently opposed to the playoff system.

On the final match day, Genk held on to the draw versus Standard Liège that clinched the title. They got the goal that won the crown in the 77th minute, on a header by Nigerian-born Kennedy Nwanganga (who had been a substitution), on a cross from Hungarian international Dániel Tőzsér.
From the 6 Pointer blog, from 18 May, 2011, by mayerski5150, ‘KRC Genk – Champions of Belgium‘.
Manager Francky Vercauteren won the title for Genk, but has since moved on, to money and irrelevance in the UAE, with Al-Jazira S&CC. Genk’s current manager is Mario Been, the former Feyenoord MF and manager.

KRC Genk, reigning Belgian champions…
genk_cristal-stadion_c.gif
photo credits -bigsoccer.com/boards, soccerway.com, shared.sammax.be.

Genk are from Genk, Limburg, Flanders, which has a city population of only around 62,000 {2010 figure} [note: that figure is probably misleading, as it does not include the metro-area of the city]. Genk are a relatively new club. KRC Genk were formed in 1988, as the result of a merger between KFC Winterslag and Waterschei Thor. Keeping Winterslag’s position, Genk debuted in the top flight in 1988-89, but were promptly relegated. Gaining promotion back to the top tier at the first try, Genk went on to win their first title in their 10th season, in 1998-99. Genk qualified for the 2002-03 UEFA Champions League, and though they finished last in their group, they managed 4 draws, 2 versus Real Madrid. Genk now are making their second UEFA Champions League Group Stage appearance, and have a draw (to Valencia) and a loss (to Bayer Leverkusen) under their belt, and will play in West London versus Chelsea on 19th October. Last season, Genk’s successful title run saw them draw 20,692 per game (up 5.5% from 09/10) at their 24,956-capacity Cristal Arena.

Genk are one of four clubs in Belgiun that have solid fan bases and can regularly draw over 20,000 – the other 3 being RSC Anderlecht, Club Brugge, and Standard Liège…
RSC Anderlecht…
anderlecht_constant-vanden-stockstadion_c.gif
photo credits – Dirk Grosemans, football-pictures.net, rsca.be.

Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht is the largest club from the Belgian capital and largest city, Brussels. [The only other club from Brussels with recent top flight history is FC Brussels, who drew 5,219 per game in 2007-08 when they were relegated to the Belgian Second Division, and only draw around 1,100 per game these days. So Brussels is sort of like Paris, France in that it is the biggest city in the country, but the vast majority of it's citizens have no interest in supporting a top flight football club]. Brussels has a metro-area population of around 1.83 million. Last season Anderlecht finished in 3rd place and drew 22,636 per game, and in recent years they have been able to draw up to 24,500 or so to their Constant Vanden Stockstadion, which has a capacity of 28,063. Anderlecht is Belgium’s most-titled club, with 30 titles (last in 2009-10). Those 30 titles were all won from 1946 onwards, so Anderlecht’s title-frequency is even higher than one might imagine. In the first decade of the 2000s, Anderlecht were champions 5 times. Anderlecht has a predominantly Flemish fan base, and certainly enjoy a significantly larger amount of support from outside the Brussels-Capital region than from within it (like maybe 75-80% from outside of Brussels). Anderlecht play in white kits with mauve (or purple) trim.

Club Brugge…
club-brugge_jan-breydelstadion_.gif
photo credits – bing.com/maps/Bird’s eye satellite view, blue-army.com.

Club Brugge KV have the second-most Belgian titles, 13, with their last title in 2005-06. Brugge are from Bruges, whose historic city center, full of intact medieval architecture, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bruges’ population is around 116,000 [again, this does not include metro-area population]. Brugge wear jerseys similar to Inter – black and blue vertical stripes, but the red in Club Brugge’s badge sets their look apart from the Italian giants. Brugge have a stadium-share with Cercle Brugge at the Jan Breydal Stadium, which is city-owned and has a capacity of 29,042. Brugge drew 23,157 in 2010-11, and finished in 4th place. In good seasons, they can draw 26 K. [Cercle Brugge have a much smaller fan base, and drew 7,488 per game last season.]

Standard Liège…
http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/standard-liege_stade-maurice-dufrasne_.gif
photo credits – footballzz.com, europeanultras.com.
Standard Liège (Royal Standard de Liège), are the biggest club in the French-speaking part of Belgium. Liège is the industrial center of Wallonia, and is a steel city {see this map that shows coal regions and metal processing centers in Belgium}. Les Rouches (the Reds) are called that, and not the linguistically-correct les Rouges, because of the effect of the Walloon accent. Standard Liège have won 10 Belgian titles, most recently in 2007-08 and 2008-09. But before that, Standard Liège had a 25-year title drought (having had won the 1982-83 title). The club drew best in Belgium last season, pulling in 25,125 per game to their Stade Maurice Dufrasne. Standard Liège had a decent European run in 2009-10, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, finishing third in their group, and then moving over to the 09/10 Europa League Knockout Round, where they made it to the Quarterfinals, first beating Roma, then Panathinaikos. They are currently, along with Anderlecht and Club Brugge, in the 2011-12 Europa League Group Stage.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Belgian Pro League‘. Thanks to European-football-statistics.co.uk, for attendance data.

October 18, 2008

Belgium: Clubs in the 2008-’09 First Division.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Belgium — admin @ 8:24 am

belgium_1stdivision08-09_post_b.gif


The Belgian First Division was established in 1895.  Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, of Brussels,  have the most titles, 29 (the last in 2007).  Club Brugge has 13 titles (the last in 2005).  Reigning champions are Standard Liege;  they have 9 titles.   All three of these clubs drew between 26,400 to 24,900 per game last season.  Another club also drew near this range: Racing Genk, with a 23,200 average.  This club was formed in 1988,  from the merger of two Belgian Limburg-based clubs.  Genk has won 2 titles,  (the last in 2002).  Two other clubs currently in the league have been champions:  KV Mechelen, who only draw around 6,000 per game,  have 4 titles (the last in 1989);  Cercle Brugge have 2 titles (but the last was in 1930).  They drew around 10,000 per game last season.  Strangely, Belgium’s second largest city,  Antwerp,  does not seem to have much of a footballing culture, as there is only one club in the Belgian top tier from there,  Germinal Beerschot,  and they draw only around 9,600 per game.  [For a list of Belgium's largest cities,  {Click here}.]

The Belgian First Division is currently undergoing a contraction,  from 18 to 16 clubs.  This is a wise move,  because when a Western European First Division league is promoting a club which can’t even draw 1,000 fans per game (AFC Tubize),  that league is too big.

Belgium is currently ranked #13 in Europe by UEFA {see this}.

The most fundamental aspect of Belgium as a nation is it’s dual langauges and ethnicities.  The north is Flemish, the south is French-speaking Walloon.  Here is Wikipedia’s page on the north region,  Flanders {Click here}.   Here is the page on the south region of Belgium,  Wallonia  {Click here}.

Club Brugge and Standard Liege are both in the UEFA CupClub Brugge are in Group G  {see this};  they travel to Norway to play Rosenborg on Thursday, 23rd October.  Standard Liege, who are the largest club from the Walloon half of the country,  defeated the English club Everton to qualify for the UEFA Cup.  They are in Group C  {see this},  but do not play in the first matchday.  They will host the Spanish club Sevilla on Thursday, 6th November.

Belgian First Division table, {Click here}.

Thanks to the EFS site for the attendance figures {Click here}.

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