Defender (association football)
In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals. There are four types of defenders: centre-back, full-back, wing-back; the centre-back and full-back positions are essential in most modern formations. The sweeper and wing-back roles are more specialised for certain formations. A centre-back defends in the area directly in front of the goal, tries to prevent opposing players centre-forwards, from scoring. Centre-backs accomplish this by blocking shots, intercepting passes, contesting headers and marking forwards to discourage the opposing team from passing to them. With the ball, centre-backs are expected to make long and pinpoint passes to their teammates, or to kick unaimed long balls down the field. For example, a clearance is a long unaimed kick intended to move the ball as far as possible from the defender's goal. Due to the many skills centre-backs are required to possess in the modern game, many successful contemporary central-defensive partnerships have involved pairing a more physical defender with a defender, quicker, more comfortable in possession and capable of playing the ball out from the back.
During normal play, centre-backs are unlikely to score goals. However, when their team takes a corner kick or other set pieces, centre-backs may move forward to the opponents' penalty area. In this case, other defenders or midfielders will temporarily move into the centre-back positions; some centre-backs have been known for their direct free kicks and powerful shots from distance. Brazilian defenders David Luiz and Naldo have been known for using the cannonball free kick method, which relies more on power than placement. In the modern game, most teams employ three centre-backs in front of the goalkeeper; the 4–2–3–1, 4–3–3, 4–4–2 formations all use two centre-backs. There are two main defensive strategies used by centre-backs: the zonal defence, where each centre-back covers a specific area of the pitch; the sweeper is a more versatile centre-back who "sweeps up" the ball if an opponent manages to breach the defensive line. This position is rather more fluid than that of other defenders who man-mark their designated opponents.
Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as libero. Though sweepers may be expected to build counter-attacking moves, as such require better ball control and passing ability than typical centre-backs, their talents are confined to the defensive realm. For example, the catenaccio system of play, used in Italian football in the 1960s, employed a purely defensive sweeper who only "roamed" around the back line; the more modern libero possesses the defensive qualities of the typical libero while being able to expose the opposition during counterattacks. The Fundell-libero has become more popular in recent time with the sweeper transitioning to the most advanced forward in an attack; this variation on the position requires great fitness. While seen in professional football, the position has been extensively used in lower leagues. Modern libero sit behind centre-backs as a sweeper before charging through the team to join in the attack; some sweepers move forward and distribute the ball up-field, while others intercept passes and get the ball off the opposition without needing to hurl themselves into tackles.
If the sweeper does move up the field to distribute the ball, they will need to make a speedy recovery and run back into their position. In modern football, its usage has been restricted, with few clubs in the biggest leagues using the position; the position is most believed to have been pioneered by Franz Beckenbauer, Gaetano Scirea, Elías Figueroa, although they were not the first players to play this position. Earlier proponents included Alexandru Apolzan, Ivano Blason, Velibor Vasović, Ján Popluhár. Other defenders who have been described as sweepers include Bobby Moore, Franco Baresi, Ronald Koeman, Fernando Hierro, Matthias Sammer, Aldair, due to their ball skills and long passing ability. Though it is used in modern football, it remains a respected and demanding position. A recent and successful use of the sweeper was made by Otto Rehhagel, Greece's manager, during UEFA Euro 2004. Rehhagel utilized Traianos Dellas as Greece's sweeper to great success, as Greece became European champions.
Although this position has become obsolete in modern football formations, due to the use of zonal marking and the offside trap, certain players such as Daniele De Rossi:, Leonardo Bonucci, Javi Martínez and David Luiz have played a similar role as a ball-playing central defender in a 3–5–2 or 3–4–3 formation. Some goalkeepers, who are comfortable leaving their goalmouth to intercept and clear through balls, who participate more in play, such as René Higuita, Manuel Neuer, Edwin van der Sar, Fabien Barthez, Hugo Lloris, among others, have been referred to as sweep
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sport's Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, prohibit the use of anything, dangerous to either the player or another participant. Individual competitions may stipulate further restrictions, such as regulating the size of logos displayed on shirts and stating that, in the event of a match between teams with identical or similar colours, the away team must change to different coloured attire. Footballers wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. A team of players wore numbers from 1 to 11, corresponding to their playing positions, but at the professional level this has been superseded by squad numbering, whereby each player in a squad is allocated a fixed number for the duration of a season. Professional clubs usually display players' surnames or nicknames on their shirts, above their squad numbers. Football kit has evolved since the early days of the sport when players wore thick cotton shirts and heavy rigid leather boots.
In the twentieth century, boots became lighter and softer, shorts were worn at a shorter length, advances in clothing manufacture and printing allowed shirts to be made in lighter synthetic fibres with colourful and complex designs. With the rise of advertising in the 20th century, sponsors' logos began to appear on shirts, replica strips were made available for fans to purchase, generating significant amounts of revenue for clubs; the Laws of the Game set out the basic equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4: The Players' Equipment. Five separate items are specified: shirt, socks and shin pads. Goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify. Shirts must have sleeves, goalkeepers must wear shirts which are distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts must be the same colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, "provide a reasonable degree of protection".
The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player "must not use equipment or wear anything, dangerous to himself or another player". It is normal for individual competitions to specify that all outfield players on a team must wear the same colours, though the Law states only "The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other and the referee and the assistant referees". In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour; because of this requirement a team's second-choice is referred to as its "away kit" or "away colours", although it is not unknown at international level, for teams to opt to wear their away colours when not required to by a clash of colours, or to wear them at home. The England national team sometimes plays in red shirts when it is not required, as this was the strip worn when the team won the 1966 FIFA World Cup. In some cases both teams have been forced to wear their second choice away kits.
Many professional clubs have a "third kit", ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the same basic colour scheme for several decades, the colours themselves form an integral part of a club's culture. Teams representing countries in international competition wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation; these are based on the colours of the country's national flag, although there are exceptions—the Italian national team, for example, wear blue as it was the colour of the House of Savoy, the Australian team like most Australian sporting teams wear the Australian National Colours of green and gold, neither of which appear on the flag, the Dutch national team wear orange, the colour of the Dutch Royal House. Shirts are made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Most professional clubs have sponsors' logos on the front of their shirts, which can generate significant levels of income, some offer sponsors the chance to place their logos on the back of their shirts.
Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed. Competitions such as the Premier League may require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. A player's number is printed on the back of the shirt, although international teams also place numbers on the front, professional teams print a player's surname above their number; the captain of each team is required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify them as the captain to the referee and supporters. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be made either of
Away colours are a choice of coloured clothing used in team sports. They are required to be worn by one team during a game between teams that would otherwise wear the same colours as each other, or similar colours; this change prevents confusion for officials and spectators. In most sports, it is the visiting or road team that must change – second-choice kits are known as away kits or change kits in British English, road uniforms in American English; some sports leagues mandate that away teams must always wear an alternative kit, while others state that the two teams' colours should not match. In some sports, conventionally the home team has changed its kit. In most cases, a team wears its away kit only when its primary kit would clash with the colours of the home team. However, sometimes teams wear away colours by choice even in a home game. At some clubs, the away kit has become more popular than the home version. Replica home and away kits are available for fans to buy; some teams have produced third-choice kits, or old-fashioned throwback uniforms.
In North American sports, road teams wear a change uniform regardless of a potential colour clash. "Color vs. color" games are a rarity, having been discouraged in the era of black-and-white television. All road uniforms are white in gridiron football and the National Hockey League, while in baseball, visitors wear grey. In the National Basketball Association and NCAA basketball, home uniforms are white or yellow, visiting teams wear the darker colour. Most teams choose to wear their colour jerseys at home, with the road team changing to white in most cases. White road uniforms gained prominence with the rise of television in the 1950s. A "white vs. color" game was easier to follow in black-and-white. According to Phil Hecken, "until the mid 1950′s, not only was color versus color common in the NFL, it was the norm." Long after the advent of colour television, the use of white jerseys has remained in every game. The NFL's current rules require that a team's home jerseys must be "either white or official team color" throughout the season, "and visiting clubs must wear the opposite".
If a team insists on wearing its home uniforms on the road, the NFL Commissioner must judge on whether their uniforms are "of sufficient contrast" with those of their opponents. The road team might instead wear a third jersey, such as the Seattle Seahawks' "Wolf Grey" alternate. According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, the Cleveland Browns wore white for every home game of the 1955 season; the only times they wore brown was for games at Philadelphia and the New York Giants, when the Eagles and Giants chose to wear white. In 1964 the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams wore white for their home games according to Tim Brulia's research; the St. Louis Cardinals wore white for several of their home games, as well as the Dallas Cowboys; until 1964 Dallas had worn blue at home, but it was not an official rule that teams should wear their coloured jerseys at home. The use of white jerseys was introduced by general manager Tex Schramm, who wanted fans to see a variety of opponents' jersey colours at home games.
The Cowboys still wear white at home today. White has been worn at home by the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, several other NFL teams. Teams in cities with hot climates choose white jerseys at home during the first half of the season, because light colours absorb and retain less heat in sunlight – as such, the Dolphins, who stay white year-round, will use their coloured jerseys for home night games; every current NFL team except the Seattle Seahawks has worn white at home at some time in its history. During the successful Joe Gibbs era, the Washington Redskins chose to wear white at home in the 1980s and 1990s, including the 1982 NFC Championship Game against Dallas. Since 2001 the Redskins have chosen to wear white jerseys and burgundy jerseys equally in their home games, but they still wear white against the Cowboys; when Gibbs returned from 2004 to 2007, they wore white at home exclusively. In 2007, they wore a white throwback jersey; the Dallas Cowboys' blue jersey has been popularly viewed to be "jinxed" because of defeats at Super Bowl V in 1971, in the 1968 divisional playoffs at Cleveland, Don Meredith's final game as a Cowboys player.
Dallas's only victory in a conference championship or Super Bowl wearing the blue jerseys was in the 1978 NFC Championship game at the Los Angeles Rams. Super Bowl rules changed to allow the designated home team to pick their choice of jersey. White was chosen by the Cowboys, the Redskins, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots; the latter three teams wear colours at home, but Pittsburgh had worn white in three road playoff wins, while Denver cited its previous Super Bowl success in white jerseys, while being 0–4 when wearing orange in Super Bowls. Teams playing against Dallas at home wear their white jerseys to try to invoke the "curse", as when the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship Game. Teams including the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants followed suit in the 1980s, the Carolina Panthers did so from 1995 until 2006, including two playoff games; the Hous
Forward (association football)
Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, are therefore most responsible for scoring goals. Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards score more goals on behalf of their team than other players. Modern team formations include one to three forwards. Unconventional formations may include none; the traditional role of a centre-forward is to score the majority of goals on behalf of the team. The player may be used to win long balls or receive passes and retain possession of the ball with their back to goal as teammates advance, in order to provide depth for their team or help teammates score by providing a pass. Most modern centre-forwards operate in front of the second strikers or central attacking midfielders, do the majority of the ball handling outside the box; the present role of centre-forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder in the 4–3–1–2 or 4–1–2–1–2 formations.
The term "target man" is used to describe a particular type of striker whose main role is to win high balls in the air and create chances for other members of the team. These players are tall and physically strong, being adept at heading the ball; the term centre-forward is taken from the early football playing formation in which there were five forward players: two outside forwards, two inside forwards, one centre-forward. When numbers were introduced in the 1933 English FA Cup final, one of the two centre-forwards that day wore the number nine – Everton's Dixie Dean a strong, powerful forward who had set the record for the most goals scored in a season in English football during the 1927–28 season; the number would become synonymous with the centre-forward position. The role of a striker is rather different from that of a traditional centre-forward, although the terms centre-forward and striker are used interchangeably at times, as both play further up the field than other players, while tall and technical players, like Zlatan Ibrahimović, have qualities which are suited to both positions.
Like the centre-forward, the traditional role of a striker is to score goals. They are fast players with good ball control and dribbling abilities. More agile strikers like Michael Owen have an advantage over taller defenders due to their short bursts of speed. A good striker should be able to shoot confidently with either foot, possess great power and accuracy, have the ability to link-up with teammates and pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. While many strikers wear the number 9 shirt, the position, to a lesser degree, is associated with the number 10, worn by more creative deep-lying forwards such as Pelé, with numbers 7 and 11, which are associated with wingers. Deep-lying forwards have a long history in the game, but the terminology to describe their playing activity has varied over the years; such players were termed inside forwards, creative or deep-lying centre-forwards. More two more variations of this old type of player have developed: the second, or shadow, or support, or auxiliary striker and, in what is in fact a distinct position unto its own, the number 10, exemplified by Dennis Bergkamp.
Other number 10s who play further back, such as Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, are described as an attacking midfielder or the playmaker. The second striker position is a loosely defined and most misapplied description of a player positioned somewhere between the out-and-out striker, whether he is a "target-man" or more of a "poacher", the Number 10 or attacking midfielder, while showing some of the characteristics of both. In fact, a term coined by French advanced playmaker Michel Platini, the "nine-and-a-half", which he used to describe Roberto Baggio's playing role, has been an attempt to become a standard in defining the position. Conceivably, a Number 10 can alternate as a second-striker provided that he is a prolific goalscorer. Second or support strikers do not tend to get as involved in the orchestration of attacks as the Number 10, nor do they bring as many other players into play, since they do not share the burden of responsibility, functioning predominantly as assist providers.
In Italy, this role is known as a "rifinitore" or "seconda punta", whereas in Brazil, it is known as "segundo atacante" or "ponta-de-lança". The position of inside forward was popularly used in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries; the inside forwards would support the centre-forward and making space in the opposition defence, and, as the passing game developed, supporting him or her with passes. The role is broadly analogous to the "hole" or second striker position in the modern game, although here there were two such players, known as inside right and inside left. In early 2–3–5 formations the inside-forwards would flank the centre-forward on both sides. With the advent of
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Football in Belgium
Football, a sport, played in Belgium since the end of the 19th century, is the country's most popular sport. The national association was founded in 1895 with the intention of bringing some order and organization to the sport; the first match of the Belgium national team was played on a 3 -- 3 draw against France. Traditionally, the clubs Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Standard Liège are the three most dominant domestic teams, all of them having played and/or won one or more European Cup final. Except for Standard Liège and Charleroi, most professional clubs have Flemish backgrounds. Both the national football team and the top Belgium division have a reputation for physical play; this came as a result of a lack of technically skilled foreign players allowed to play in Belgium due to legal restrictions. This changed after the Bosman ruling which forced the liberalization of the football player market in Europe. In response, Belgian clubs began to buy unknown players from Eastern Europe, South America and Africa.
This had two contradictory consequences. On the one hand, the national team was weakened by the reduced opportunity for native Belgium players to gain a spot on domestic teams. On the other hand, the Jupiler League reinforced its status as an entry league for players who move on to some of the greatest European clubs. Indeed, some of the most talented players in Europe have played in Belgian clubs, including Yaya Touré, Jean-Pierre Papin, Daniel Amokachi, Antolín Alcaraz and David Rozehnal were discovered at Club Brugge. Others who began or launched their professional careers in Belgium include William Carvalho, Emmanuel Eboué, Gervinho, Didier Zokora, Arthur Boka, Ivica Dragutinović, Mario Stanić, Morten Olsen, Dorinel Munteanu, André Cruz, Seol Ki-hyeon, Kennet Andersson, Klas Ingesson, Aaron Mokoena, Michaël Ciani, Nicolás Pareja, Oguchi Onyewu, Rabiu Afolabi, Cheick Tioté, Peter Odemwingie, Joseph Yobo, Ouwo Moussa Maazou, Milan Jovanović, Ognjen Vukojević, Ivan Perišić, Nikica Jelavić, Demba Ba, Bryan Ruiz and Rob Rensenbrink.
Because of the physical nature of Belgian football, it has tended to produce talented defensive players. These include Jean-Marie Pfaff, Eric Gerets, Leo Clijsters, Michel Preud'homme, Georges Grün, Philippe Albert, Franky Van Der Elst, Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen. In comparison, only few attacking Belgian footballers have received international recognition: Enzo Scifo, Jan Ceulemans, Marc Degryse, Luc Nilis and Émile Mpenza. However, this latter trend is starting to change, with Belgium producing such offensive talents as Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembélé, Christian Benteke, Kevin Mirallas, Marouane Fellaini, Kevin De Bruyne and Dries Mertens, among others. With football's rapid growth in popularity in the late 19th century, several football clubs came into existence in Belgium. In 1926, the Royal Belgian Football Association decided to introduce matricule numbers to tell the clubs apart and assigned a matricule to each existing club by order of registration. In this manner, Antwerp was awarded matricule number 1 as the first to register.
As such, the oldest clubs in Belgium have the lowest matricule numbers, although there are clubs which registered only years after their origination and as a result have a much higher matricule than would be expected. Many clubs those with low numbers, consider their matricule number part of their heritage and past and prominently feature it in their logo or name. In case a club dissolves, the matricule number of this club is removed permanently and lost forever as numbers are never reused. In case of mergers, the new club must decide which matricule number to keep, it begins the championship at the level where the former club with the same matricule number should have begun the season. Mergers result in the most famous club's matricule being kept alive. However, it has occurred that a club with a glorious past or championship titles had to merge with another less successful club in order to survive due to financial difficulties. In this case, the matricule number of the club, the honours linked to it, were lost with the merger.
As an examples, in the late 1990s, seven-time champion K. Beerschot VAC was struggling with financial difficulties in the third division and merged with first division neighbour club KFC Germinal Ekeren to survive; the new club was named KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen and started in the first division with the matricule number of KFC Germinal Ekeren, but lost the honours of K Beerschot VAC. The new club did keep playing in the Beerschot stadium and wore the purple shirt for which Beerschot was famously known. Another famous example is that of five-time champion Daring Club de Bruxelles' merger with RR White into R White Daring Molenbeek in 1973. From the 2010s, matricules have been sold and traded, with clubs wanting to take over the position in a series of another club acquiring these matricules in order to move up one or more divisions. Examples include BX Brussels, which acquired the matricule of Bleid-Gaume in 2013, with the intent to transform and move the club from Bleid to Brussels, over 200 kilometres away.
The Royal Belgian Football Association therefore enforced a new rule in 2016, stating that after a takeover, a club cannot move more than 30 kilometres from its original location. From 2017, the Belgian FA enforced another rule, which allows clubs to buy back their old defunct matricule, first done by Lyra who acquired the matricule 52 of the old defunct Lyra. In 2018, Oud-Heverlee Leuven, the result of a merger of three clubs around th