Belgium is heading into the Euro 2016 Cup this summer for this first time since 2002. Belgium has not been a major power in the international football sphere throughout history. The most notable Euro Cup finishes include finishing runners-up in 1980 and 3rd place in 1972. The international squad has only reached one international tournament in the last 13 years and it was the most recent 2014 World Cup. However, with this golden age of Belgian youth football exploding onto the European scene, Belgium is prepared to challenge the power nations of European football.
Belgium is coming off of a strong performance in the 2014 World Cup, losing to Argentina in the quarterfinals 0-1. Since 2014 the Belgium squad has only been improving and staking their claim as one of the top international teams to beat in the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament. The Belgium team was put in Group B for the qualifying round of Euro 2016. This group included Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wales, Cyprus, and Israel. Only losing once in this round, and winning the last four straight matches helped propel the Belgian team finishing atop the group. Additionally, in friendly matches from 2014 to 2016, Belgium beat strong European teams France and Italy. The Belgian squad is gaining momentum just at the right time heading into the Euro 2016 Finals.
The expectations for the Belgium squad have never been higher entering an International football tournament. Belgium is arriving in neighboring France as the top ranked team in the world. Entering the group stages, they sit ranked first in their Group E consisting of Italy, Republic of Ireland, and Sweden. There is no hesitation by anyone in the football community that Belgium will finish in the top two of this group and move on to the knockout stage. Anything less than a trip to the quarterfinals will be seen as a dismal showing, as there only really exist 7 major competitors for the trophy: France, Croatia, Germany, England, Portugal, Italy, Spain. This young and hungry Belgian football team has desires of hosting the trophy at the end of the tournament.
By Nick Salzman, Sam Skinner, and Will Feldman
How to Cite this Article: “Euro 2016 Expectations” Written by Nick Salzman, Will Feldman, and Sam Skinner (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/belgium/euro-2016-expectations/(accessed on (date)).