Évence Coppée Trophy
|Event||Évence Coppée Trophy|
|Date||1 May 1904|
|Venue||Stade du Vivier d'Oie, Uccle|
|Referee||John C. Keene (England)|
The Évence Coppée Trophy was a single game tournament in 1904 and the maiden match of the national association football teams of Belgium and France. The trophy was named after Évence Coppée, the Belgian patron that decided to organise this duel in the framework of the Franco-Belgian friendship. The incident-packed game had place at the Stade du Vivier d'Oie ("Goose Pond Stadium") in Uccle, Belgium and it ended in a 3–3 draw. As the encounter ended undecided (and no extra time was foreseen) the Évence Coppée Trophy that would be handed out to the winner was logically not awarded.
It meant the official debut of both national football teams and it was at the same time the first match between two independent European countries; it was the third official international football game in continental Europe (after the games between Austro-Hungarian teams Austria and Hungary and the squads of Hungary and Bohemia) and the third official game between the teams of two independent countries (after two matches between Argentina and Uruguay in 1902 and 1903). Twenty days later in Paris, Belgium and France would found the international association football federation FIFA together with five other Western European football associations (Belgium being represented by the UBSSA, precursor of the Royal Belgian Football Association and France by USFSA, precursor of the current French Football Federation).
Pre-match, tactics and team outfits
Both teams were not selected by a national manager but by their entire national Football Association (with as Belgian chairman Édouard de Laveleye and as French chairman Robert Guérin). For reasons of transport difficulties and army enrollment the French delegation was decimated. Since the 1st of May was not yet considered an international holiday back then, the French players working as employees had to ask for a day off. At least two French players (Louis Mesnier and Fernand Canelle) even left their country without permission from their employers.
From France, the tactics were described as follows. "France plays in a classical 2-3-5 formation: two backs, the two half-wingers (G. Bilot and especially C. Bilot) are defensive and hold the opponent's wingers, Davy is half-center. Finally there are the five forwards. The 'exteriors' (not named wingers yet) Mesnier and Filez who make a break, the 'interiors' are Royet (who is relay runner) and Cyprès and the powerful center (Garnier), who is also the playmaker."
May 1, 1904
|Belgium||3 – 3||France|
|Quéritet 7', 50'
With respect to the players it is remarkable that striker Georges Quéritet, in spite of having scored most goals in this inaugurational match, would not be selected anymore for the Belgian national side. Belgian goalie Alfred Verdyck, on the other hand, would become the secretary-general of the Belgian FA. In French journals, the two players that did not receive permission for their away match from their employers (Mesnier and Canelle) were referred to with the respective pseudonyms "Didi" and "Fernand".
Regarding later international association football, it should be noted that Robert Guérin, deputee of the French Football Association, would be assigned as first FIFA president at its erection twenty days after this match. The Belgium-France duel would grow out to a longlasting sportive rivalry with 72 games played in 109 years as of 14 August 2013.
All Franco-Belgian encounters
The full record between the two countries is as follows:
Correct as of 6 September 2013.
|World Cup qualifiers||4||1||2||1||7||9|
- *Including two friendly duels at minor tournaments: the Évence Coppée Trophy in 1904 (3–3), and a 1–0 victory for France at the King Hassan II Tournament in 1998.
- List of first association football internationals per country
- Belgium national football team
- France national football team
- History of the France national football team
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