Belgium will be making their twelfth appearance at a FIFA World Cup™. Nicknamed the Roude Duivels (Red Devils), the Belgians first appeared at the 1930 edition in Uruguay. In 2014, Belgium find themselves in Group H alongside Algeria, Russia and South Korea.
Belgium were one of the founding members of FIFA along with France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Their best performance at a World Cup came in 1986 in Mexico when they finished fourth losing 2-0 to eventual champions Argentina in the semi-finals and 4-2 after extra time to France in the third-place play-off.
Marc Wilmots’ men qualified for the football showpiece in Brazil by topping Uefa Qualifying Group A ahead of Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Wales and Scotland with an almost faultless campaign, only dropping points against two of their group opponents. The Roude Duivels sealed qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil in their penultimate encounter against Serbia with a 2-1 victory to make their first appearance at a World Cup since 2002. Over the ten qualifiers goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois kept six clean sheets and winger Kevin De Bruyne was the country’s top scorer with four goals.
Belgium have met Russia at four previous World Cups and the current head to head has each side at two wins apiece. The northern Europeans are blessed with a host of young, as well as experienced, talent who ply their trade in the world’s best leagues. Many of their first team however can be found in the English Premier League. The Belgians in England include Chelsea attacking duo Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, Aston Villa’s scoring machine Christian Benteke, Manchester City’s skipper Vincent Kompany, the towering Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellani and Arsenal’s defensive rock Thomas Vermaelen. Despite having missed out on the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, the Roude Duivels will be looking to make an impression in Brazil to justify the hype surrounding a new golden generation of Belgian footballers.