Around the World: Belgium and the Barclays Premier League

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Tuesday 10 June 2014

Around the World: Belgium and the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, a look at the influence Belgians have had on BPL

A look at the influence Belgians such as Phillipe Albert, Thomas Vermaelen had on the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, which starts on 12 June, looks at the 31 nations outside of England who are competing in Brazil and their influence on the Barclays Premier League.

Belgium are in Group H, along with Algeria, South Korea and Russia. Brazil will be their 12th World Cup finals, although their first since 2002. The furthest they have gone is the semi-finals in Mexico 1986, where they lost to a Maradona-inspired Argentina.

Last season 15 Belgians played in the Barclays Premier League, 11 of whom have been picked for Brazil by national team coach Marc Wilmots. Outside of England, Belgium have the most Barclays Premier League players in their squad of the participants.

The 11 are Simon Mignolet, Jan Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele, Adnan Januzaj, Eden Hazard, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku. Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who played last season on loan at Atletico Madrid, is also in the squad.

Those to miss out were Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, who is injured, Swansea City defender Roland Lamah, Manchester City defender Dedryck Boyata, while Kevin De Bruyne played for Chelsea at the start of the season before he was sold to Wolfsburg in January. For the full squad list, see below.

In total 36 Belgians have played in the Barclays Premier League, 19th in the rankings of nationality, with 1,523 appearances made in all and 228 goals scored.

Phillipe Albert, who was signed by Newcastle United in the summer of 1994 after featuring for Belgium in the World Cup in the United States, was the first to appear in the competition, when he made his Magpies debut against Leicester City on the opening day of the 1994/95 season.

The elegant defender was also the first Belgian to score, netting in the reverse fixture against Leicester four months after his debut.

Albert came four appearances shy of reaching his century in the Barclays Premier League, something that five Belgians have achieved, all at present in the competition. Manchester City captain Kompany leads the way with 181 appearances, followed by Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini, Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Tottenham Hotspur's Mousa Dembele and Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen.

Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku is the leading scorer, netting 32 goals in just two campaigns since signing from Anderlecht, firstly on loan at West Bromwich Albion, then last season while at Everton. Benteke, who will miss the World Cup through injury, is only three goals behind.

  • Phillipe Albert was the first Beglian to play and score in the Barclays Premier League

  • Romelu Lukaku tops the goalscoring charts for Belgians in the BPL

  • Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is in the top 10 of goals and appearances by Belgians

  • Christian Benteke has had a big impact at Aston Villa over the past two seasons

  • Eden Hazard is one of 15 Belgians who played in the Barclays Premier League last season


Belgians in the Barclays Premier League
Total players in BPL history 36
Total BPL appearances 1,523
Total BPL goals 228

First Belgian to play in the Barclays Premier League
Phillipe Albert
- Newcastle United (v Leicester City, 21 August, 1994)

Top 10 BPL appearances by Belgians
Vincent Kompany 181
Marouane Fellaini 157
Simon Mignolet 128
Mousa Dembele 120
Thomas Vermaelen 110
Phillipe Albert 96
Romelu Lukaku 76
Eden Hazard 69
Christian Benteke 60
Kevin Mirallas 59

First Belgian to score in the Barclays Premier League

Phillipe Albert - Newcastle (v Leicester, 10 December, 1994)

Top 10 Belgian goalscorers in BPL
Romelu Lukaku
Christian Benteke
Eden Hazard
Branko Strupar
Kevin Mirallas
Thomas Vermaelen
Vincent Kompany
Gilles De Bilde
Phillipe Albert
Marc Degryse
Cedric Roussel

Belgium's 23-man FIFA World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Sammy Bossut (Zulte-Waregem).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit).

Midfielders: Axel Witsel (Zenit), Steven Defour (Porto), Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj (both Manchester United), Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele (both Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

Forwards: Dries Mertens (Napoli), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Divock Origi (Lille).

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Key Points

  • Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup we look at the influence of players from 31 participating nations outside England on the BPL
  • Next in series looks at players from Belgium in the Barclays Premier League
  • Phillipe Albert was the first Belgian to appear in the BPL while Vincent Kompany has made the most BPL appearances by a Belgian