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Sport Online talks to Belgian fans
"Us Belgians are getting very excited."
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Friday, 9 June, 2000, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK banner
Belgians only here for the beer
Belgian football fans
Belgian football fans raise a toast to Euro 2000
BBC Sport Online's man at Euro 2000, Pete Lansley, talks footy with Belgium's fans in Brussels.

Ask a group of young Belgians out for a drink to talk football and it's only a matter of time before you're discussing the beer.

To a man (or lady), the willing volunteers were hoping Belgium would win Euro 2000. But their enthusiasm was really fired when it came to the relative merits of Duvel or Leffe.

Farah Nolens, a 23-year-old student originally from St Truiden, said: "The best thing about these championships is when we all meet up in a bar to watch the games and have a drink. When Belgium score, we will be celebrating and enjoying it, but the main satisfaction is the sense of occasion."

Belgium could win because they all play for each other

Johan van den Beek

Ask Johan van den Broek for his favourites and he swiftly responds with the national team. "Belgium could win because they're a team, they all play for each other since Robert Waisege became the coach and they have no star names to disrupt the mood."

Mark Van Dael, 20, a metal worker from Overpelt, is also quietly confident Belgium will go far. But why are the Belgians so laid back?

Although around 1500 supporters turned up earlier in the day to watch Luc Nilis and the boys train - Van Dael and his mates had travelled 40 km for the privilege - the atmosphere in Bruges and Brussels has remained low-key right up until the eve of the tournament.

Young Belgian fan
They start them young in Belgium
"We keep calm, the expectation is low, but once we win a game, then watch us take off," said Van Dael. "Holland are a bigger team and their fans get more excited because they expect to win the tournament."

Peter Vercruysse, 25, a teacher from Brussels, is surprised the England-Germany game has not been switched from Charleroi.

"It's so steep, it's frightening," he said. "Antwerp, as a possible alternative, is such an old ground but with the amount of money that's been spent on Charleroi, they could have ugraded another, bigger ground. I hope it's all cool but I fear it could be like a small war zone."

Free Van Heddegem, 24, a web designer from Brussels, said: "I would like to leave Brussels for the month. I won't be leaving my flat."

The Dutch should win because they have the best players in the world

Edwin Korver

Among the happy gathering is a Dutch interloper, Edwin Korver, 30, a lawyer from Antwerp. "The English fans should bring a ball and play in the goal nets that have been put up around the bus stops of the city!

"The Dutch should win because they have the best players in the world. They should have beaten Brazil in the World Cup semi-final two years ago.

"But they need to play like a team: my fear is that they play too much like individuals, because they all play in different countries. If they are together, Holland will win Euro 2000."

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