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Kickin' It Around The 2014 World Cup: Belgium

Kickin' It Around The 2014 World Cup: Belgium featured image

A small, compact country that has been influenced by three unique cultures and centuries of history? Sounds like a great place to take your students. Brussels is the capital of the EU, and a perfect place for your students to learn about WWI and WWII or practice their German, French, or Dutch. Plus all kids love eating french fries, right? Belgium's squad is looking to make some noise this World Cup and is considered one of the dark horses in the tournament, but one thing is for sure: Belgium is favorite when it comes to student travel. 

 

Belgium: The Dark Horse

 

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FIFA Ranking: #11

Population: 11 million

Capital and Largest City: Brussels

Language: French, Dutch, German

National Dish: Belgium claims it is the birthplace of the french fry (though France begs to differ), both national dishes include fries. Steak and fries and mussels with fries. Belgians are also known for their chocolate and waffles.  

Historic Sites: The Grand Palace and central square in Brussels top any itinerary. Other great sites include the Royal Art Museum and EU Headquarters. When walking around The Grand Palace Square area, keep an eye out for one of the most famous picture stops in Brussels, The Manneken Pis. You'll know it when you see it.

Why it's good for student travel: For a relatively small country, Belgium packs a lot of cultural diversity. You can explore the EU capital in Brussels, visit medieval Brugges, or visit old town Antwerp there is a lot to do and see. Belgium is also a short train ride from other student travel hot spots, such as France and the Netherlands.  

Did you know: Musically speaking, Belgium loves organizing festivals. There are hundreds of music festivals, with most of them taking place during the summer.

Team Nickname: The Red Devils. Of course, being Belgium, the nickname has to be translated into all three of the country's spoken languages, Dutch, French and German. The name was coined when a journalist called the Belgian squad "The Red Devils" after three "devilish" wins in 1906, just two years after forming.

Best Player: Plenty of big names on this Belgium team, but their most important player is Eden Hazard.  

2010 Finish: Did not qualify in 2010.  This is their first appearance since 2002.

Current Results: W vs Algeria (2-1), W vs. Russia (1-0), W vs South Korea (1-0)

Next Up: United States (7/1). 

Previous Highlights:

Spain

Brazil

England

Italy

France

Costa Rica

Germany

Image: ESPN/ Cristiano Siqueira