The Red Devils are number 1 on the world ranking, but there was a time when the Belgians hardly become matches, let alone qualified for a big tournament. In 2005 that even led to a joke with radio host Peter Vandenbempt in the lead.
On the last day of the qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Belgium, which had already been eliminated, had to play in Lithuania. Peter Vandenbempt had an idea. “We were watching the training and we wanted to illustrate how pointless it all was,” he says in a report from Play Sports. “We had said: we are going to put a fictional player on the field and let him play football. And because they often lost in that period, we called them Opunkaskas. Altijed Opunkaskas. And that fictional player was also in the fields in certain newspapers on the day of the match. And we let him participate in the radio report. ”
In De Standaard from that time the phrase “So no excuses for the Red Devils. After all, Lithuania also lacked well-known names such as Jankauskas (ex-Club Brugge) and Opunkaskas”…
FYI, the match ended 1-1. Karel Geraerts gave the Devils the lead, but Olivier Deschacht made an own goal. Belgium finished fourth in their group with twelve points. Serbia (22 points) came first, ahead of Spain (20) and Bosnia (16).