Belgium may not be considered a favorite for this year’s Olympics, but they are one of only five current participants to have won the tournament before.
The Belgians were the second team to win Gold at the Olympic football tournament. Great Britain did so in 1908 and 1912, but the Belgians conquered the world in 1920.
A day ahead of Belgium’s opening match with Brazil, it’s a good moment to look back at that 1920 tournament.
The games that year were held in Belgium, meaning that the Red Devils were more inspired than ever to show their skills. With players like Jan de Bie and Louis van Hage, the home side began the tournament with a 3-1 win over Spain in the second round, after having been given a bye for the first.
The semi finals had Belgium facing the Netherlands, who had won Bronze at the two previous tournaments and aimed to finally improve that record. But the hosts were far too strong and would earn their place in the final with a 3-0 win over their neighbours.
The final was played in Belgium’s second city, Antwerpen, on September 5th. Opponents were Czechoslovakia, who had crushed Yugoslavia, Norway and France to book their spot in the final battle.
Belgium didn’t need long to break the deadlock, with Robert CoppÃƒÂ©e netting the first goal after just six minutes. Henri Larnoe doubled the lead on the half hour mark.
The final came to a controversial end nine minutes after the second goal, as the Czechoslovakians left the pitch in protest of ‘biased refereeing’.
Belgium would make only one more appearance at the Olympic football tournament, but were knocked out by the Argentinians in the 1928 quarter finals.
Eight years after their last Olympic match, and eighty-eight years after winning the tournament, the Belgians will be looking leave a good impression in Beijing.
The team of manager Jean Francois De Sart shares Group C with Brazil, hosts China and New Zealand.
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