Red Devils draw well for Euro 2008
27 January 2006
BRUSSELS — Having missed out on this year’s World Cup, the Belgian national soccer team has been given a chance to redeem itself with a favourable draw for the 2008 European Championship.
Lots were drawn for the qualifying matches in Montreux, Switzerland, on Friday and Belgium was placed in Group A with Portugal, Poland, Serbia-Montenegro, Finland, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
The most dangerous opponents loom as Portugal, Poland and Serbia-Montenegro. Finland is no pushover either. However, Belgium can expect easier matches against Armenia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
Belgium is in Group A, the only group with eight nations and will therefore play two extra matches. Only the top two teams will progress to the European Championship, scheduled for 7-29 June 2008.
National coach René Vandereycken can now start preparing his team for the qualifying matches with the knowledge he will not have to face top states the Netherlands, Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
However, Belgium will still need to get past Portugal, the losing finalist from the Euro 2004 championship. As host nation, Portugal lost to Greece in an emotional final.
The qualifying matches will be played between September 2006 and November 2007. Every country will play each other twice.
Host countries Switzerland and Austria qualify automatically for the final round of the championship. The remaining 14 qualifiers will be the seven group winners and seven runners-up.
The opening match of Euro 2008 will be on 7 June in Bazel in Switzerland. The final will be held in Vienna in Austria on 29 June 2008.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news