Enzo Scifo, Michel Preud'homme, Eric Gerets, Jean-Marie Pfaff. Belgian football has produced some great names down the years. Yet despite such outstanding players, major achievements have generally eluded the Red Devils on the international stage.
Belgium had already missed out on the UEFA EURO 2004 finals and then also failed to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ after making it to the previous six editions of the tournament.
A founding member of FIFA, the nation has participated at eleven FIFA World Cups to date, notably on every occasion from 1982 to 2002, albeit without great success in recent years. In 1998, George Leekens' team failed to qualify from the group stage, finishing in third place after three draws. Four years later in Korea and Japan, Robert Waseige's men were thwarted by eventual winners Brazil in the quarter-finals.
The greatest success in Belgian football history came at Mexico 1986 when they reached the semi-finals, only to be eliminated by eventual winners Argentina.
In 2006 qualifying, the Red Devils finished fourth in Group 7, ten points behind winners Serbia and Montenegro. They conceded 11 goals in ten matches (only San Marino had a worse defensive record in the group) and dropped eight points at home, losing to the two eventual qualifiers, Serbia and Montenegro and Spain, 2-0 each time. Belgium got off to a terrible start, managing only one point in their first three matches and never really looked in the running for a top-two spot.
After an equally disappointing qualifying campaign for EURO 2008, the Red Devils will be looking to get back to winning ways as the bid to return to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.