This will be the third straight World Cup for Belgium’s national soccer team, one of the most talented sides in recent history. However, the Red Devils have never been able to win a major international trophy. They are the only national team ever to be ranked first by FIFA without a major trophy, but maybe that will change in world cup soccer 2022.
Best Finish in 2018
Hot off what was Belgium’s previous second-best performance in a World Cup in 2014, making it to the quarter-finals, it topped that by placing third in 2018, with the nation’s best-ever finish.
2014 was the coming out party for the modern Belgium golden generation, winning all three group stage matches and beating the United States in the Round of 16. They would lose to the eventual runners-up, Argentina, 1-0. It was the first time the national team made it past the Round of 16 since 1986.
In 2018, the Red Devils again dominated the group stage, picking up all nine points. England was the only competition within the group, with Belgium pulling out a 1-0 win. In the Round of 16, it took a goal from Nacer Chadli in stoppage time to beat Japan to advance.
Facing Brazil in the quarter-finals was a challenge, but an own-goal and Kevin De Bruyne scoring in the first half put Belgium up 2-0 and halftime. They held onto the lead, winning 2-1 to face rivals France. It would be a close game, but the eventual winners of the tournament won 1-0, sending the Red Devils to the third-place match.
They faced England again, winning decisively 2-0, as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois won the award for best goalkeeper in the tournament. The third-place finish earned the team the number one spot in FIFA’s rankings, which they held until February 2022, now ranked second.
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First Deep Run 1986
It was the Red Devils’ sixth World Cup in 1986, and they had never made it past the Round of 16. In the modern format, they would not have even made it out of the group stages, but they moved on due to the third-place rule at the time.
Belgium was placed in a group with Mexico, Paraguay, and Iraq, finishing with a win, draw, and loss for three points. They would be the best third-place team with a goal differential of 0. They faced the Soviet Union in the next round, winning 3-2 in extra time, scoring twice after the first 90 minutes.
Advancing to the quarter-finals, they faced a good Spanish team coming off a 5-1 win over Denmark. A full 120 minutes ended in a draw as the teams went to a shootout, with the Red Devils making all five and Spain missing one.
The surprise run ended as they ran into the legend that is Diego Maradona, who scored twice, as Argentina, the tournament winner, won 2-0. Belgium faced France in the third-place game, losing 4-2 in extra time, finishing the World Cup in fourth place.
Golden Generation’s Last Chance in 2022
This could be the third and final World Cup odds for many of the members of Belgium’s golden generation. Many players are coming to the backend of their careers, and with four more years till the 2026 World Cup, some may have hung up their international boots.
Eight players on the current roster are listed in the top 10 of caps for Belgium, while four are on the top-10 all-time scoring list. Since the quarter-finals run in 2014, the Red Devils have been one of the best international teams, but with no trophies to show for it. Maybe this is the tournament for them. BetUS has Belgium’s odds at +500 to reach the final.
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