40 years ago, Belgium opened the 82 World Cup with a feat, beating the Argentinian world champions led by Diego Maradona. A feat signed Erwin Vandenbergh.
In the wake of their final at Euro 1980, lost against West Germany, the Devils of Guy Thys quietly qualified for the World Cup 82, the final phase they found after twelve years of absence. Belgium signs a 9 points out of 10 (a victory was then worth 2 units…) to start its playoffs, in a strong group with France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Cyprus, before losing narrowly in Paris against the Blues of Michel Hidalgo (3-2).
But the Devils took their revenge on September 9, 1981, in the return match, and plucked the Roosters (2-0), validating at the same time their ticket to Spain. A match marked by a… blue for the Devils, with the first of 31 appearances in the Belgian jersey of Alexandre Czerniatynski, a young striker who has just celebrated his 21st birthday, revealed in D2 with Charleroi and who shines in the jersey from Antwerp. It only takes 24 minutes for the Carolo of Polish origin to open the scoring and plant his first international rose, to the delight of the 52,000 spectators at Heysel. “I just had to put it in. Even the least gifted of journalists would have scored that goal,” laughed Czernia, who only had to push the leather into the back of the net after a failed recovery from Vandenbergh who scored the second goal. This goal, but also his excellent season, earned the handsome Alex a lucrative contract at Anderlecht at the end of the season, and, the same day, he learned that he could pack his suitcase, Guy Thys inviting him to take part in the trip. Spanish.