A Belgian Story – The Road to World Cup 2006: Part 26 | @Verbist_Philip

Happy Saturday everyone! Here’s Philip in Belgium but hopefully the first game is not a sign of things to come…

Hallo allemaal!

Happy Saturday everybody! Welcome to the last blog update for our Beveren Boys.

When I look back over the past 8 seasons I am actually quite happy with what we accomplished so far at club level: 3 back-to-back titles & 3 Belgian Cups. Oh, and also 3 Super Cups. A trophy is a trophy, right? We proved domestic success is possible using only Belgian regens.

At European level the picture is a bit different. We’ve got some decent to good results, but if we truly want to compete at the highest level, I think we would have to add 3 to 4 international top players.

Can we add any silverware to our trophy room in our last season? It is definitely possible as we are still competing on all levels!

Last week we finished just before the winter break and we are picking up the action right after. And you know what that means: Cup time! We travel to Mechelen and we start this week’s update in a bad way: our first loss this season and elimination from the Cup. That immediately settles one thing: we’ll finish this experiment with 3 Belgian Cups. And we’re not the only one who gets surprised in the 2nd Round: also Club Brugge gets eliminated.

Ahhh! I’ll take every injury but not Cannaerts (Emmers)! Thank goodness it’s only for a couple of weeks. Club Brugge gets another defeat and we create a small gap in the standings.

RWDM make the lads work very hard for the 3 points. Their defence is solid, but at the end of the game they forget for just 30 seconds to keep an eye on Abeels (Nilis). That half a minute makes the difference between winning and losing.

When one of your key players is out on injury, a home game against Patro Eisden is most welcome.

We recover Cannaerts (Emmers) at the perfect moment as we have some difficult matches coming up. A visit to Lierse is first. They were the reigning champions at the start of the blog, but funny enough they wait until the last season to have their best season. The lads however play a great game and we go home with a 0-2 win.

Standard may not have the season they hoped for, that doesn’t make them less dangerous. We start the game well and are leading 2-0 after 20 minutes. A hattrick of Conceiçao comes out of nowhere and we’re 2-3 down at half time. My pep talk works out fine and we win the match 5-4.

French teams are always difficult to play against. We are 0-2 down at half time against PSG and the thought that crosses my mind is ‘game over’. The lads fight themselves back into match and the qualification and we manage to get a 2-2 draw. I consider our chances to advance slim, but there is at least hope.

A few days later we travel to Kortrijk. These days our matches are the source of entertainment and goals.

After several smaller injuries, Daelmans (Degryse) is fit again. But I am not going to put him back into the line-up as Nasden (Lemoine) never stops to amaze me. He may not have the highest ability & potential, but he does make the team run better. This guy is made for the support attacking position. Against Germinal he delivers once again.

Did I say earlier our chances for qualification were slim? Forget that! With an amazing performance we more than earned our spot in the Semi Finals. They are lucky they have the Barthez regen in goal. With PSV we draw once again a familiar opponent. The three leagues that I chose for the blog (Belgian, Dutch & Portuguese) are represented in the Semi Finals. Coincidence?

Last week I mentioned how much I love playing Cercle Brugge. And that cannot be reiterated enough.

We’ll save the World Cup for next week. In today’s update we’ll play 2 friendlies. Switzerland comes first. Having an off-day, lads?

Marc Millecamps, you really should consider using the “Narrow 23122”, you’ll be much more successful. Trust me, I know what I am saying.

Next we travel to Eindhoven where we see a lot of familiar faces. The core of their team is still nearly the same. And some things never change: like how damn difficult it is to beat Buffon.

Scenario: you play a mediocre match at Anderlecht and return home with 3 points. Please select the best possible answer. A/ you were a bit lucky, B/ you are simply a good team, C/ Anderlecht lost his glory, D/ All of the above. I am guessing it is answer D.

The past few months Nasden (Lemoine) developed himself as a key player and his injury is a big hit for the team. He is out for the remainder of the season for Beveren, but hopefully he’ll be fit again when the World Cup starts!

Daelmans (Degryse) shows us how many good players we have on the offensive side. Waregem is a difficult team to play, but they didn’t stand a chance.

I am guessing we will have a very unexpected Cup winner this year!

What prevents us from advancing to our first ever European final? Or better said: who? An Italian goalkeeper. Gianluigi Buffon, I loathe you! We miss the Cup Winners Cup Final because of the away-goals rule…

I am skipping the Charleroi game and go straight to our match against Mechelen. They kicked us out of the Cup, so a win would be nice. Rephrase: is nice.

Time now for our last international friendly during this update. We play Wales, one of our opponents at the upcoming World Cup. What are the odds, right? Last week I believe I said we should be able to win against Wales. I am not so sure of that anymore.

The season finale is about to begin, but it could be a very short one. With 4 games left to play, we have a 10-point lead over Club Brugge. Winning our next match equals winning the title!

Mouscron are currently in last position, and it is not much of a match really. WE ARE CHAMPIONS AGAIN! We add a 4th title to our total, well done lads!

Speaking of celebration: it’s PSV who wins the Cup Winners Cup!

We fast forward a few matches and for our final match we travel to Jan Bredyel. They steal the victory in the last minutes of they game and ruin our chance to conclude the league season without defeat. That would have been nice feat, but I am not going to be bothered. I leave Beveren after our most successful season in the league.

The day after Sint-Truiden takes, as expected, the Belgian Cup.

On the day I have to announce my World Cup squad, I give my resignation to the Beveren board. They are surprised, but it is time for a new challenge. I leave them in good shape and gave them in total 10 trophies. So long!

That’s it for today! Next week we will find out how Belgium will perform at the 2006 WC in England. Can we do better than Belgium’s real life performance in 2018?

Enjoy your weekends! Tot volgende week!

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