Saturday, June 11, 2016

New Addition: The First International Match of …..-Part 1 (Belgium and France, 1904)

A New Addition about the very first International Matches of Nations.

Belgium and France played their First ever Official matches against one another on May 1st , 1904.
Up until then International Matches had been restricted between British Home Nations for the thirty years prior.
By the early parts of the 20th Century, interest had grown in many European Nations including Belgium and France.
This initial match between the nations was mostly due to the efforts of wealthy Belgian Businessman Evence Coppée. His family had been one of the founding members of Lafarge (Industrial Company specializing in Cement/Concrete).
He had business interests in both countries and was very keen for this historic event.
The Belgium squad, chosen by their Technical Commission, was more homogeneous with six members from Union Saint-Gilloise.
France’s Football governing body was called U.S.F.S.A. (Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques). The Players themselves were chosen by ‘Commission centrale d’Association’ and called up via the Press.

Photo From: Le Siecle des Diables Rouges, Author: Christian Hubert
(‘La Vie Sportive’, the official newspaper of the Belgian Federation discussing about the upcoming International vs. France)

There was no physical or tactical preparation. The selected players had to rendez-vous at a designated location and then depart.
On the days leading up, France had to deal with the withdrawal of three selected players.
Pierre Allemane, who was doing his Military service, had fallen off a horse and was injured.
Charles Wilkes of Le Have also withdrew, as did Georges Bayrou (most likely they could not get days off from their employers).
Robert Guerin, the President of the Commission, was forced to improvise to make up the numbers.
Charles Bilot became the first ever player in France’s Football History to be called up after withdrawals.
Charles Bilot and his brother Georges Bilot declared themselves available for selection. In doing so they became the first pair of brothers in the History of the French National Team.
All French players were Paris based, the only exception would be the player called up to replace Wilkes.
Adrien Filez of Tourcoing would be the only provincial member of this inaugural French side (It was reported that he would smoke up to 30 cigarettes per day).

Photo From: Les Bleus Author Denis Chaumier, 2004
(France’s Joseph Verlet)

The entire French squad with the exception of Filez, met at 6 PM on April 30th  (the day before the match), at the Paris Train Station ‘La Gare du Nord’.
The Train departed at 11 PM for a ten-hour ride.
Filez traveled on his own to Brussels to join up with the rest of the squad there.
This match was so important in Belgium that Prince Albert was also in attendance (He would become King Albert I in 1909).

Photo From :L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire
(Belgium’s Prince Albert on his way to watch the match)

The attendance was also large given the times (in excess of 1,500).
To give the Match Referee, the Englishman John C. Keene, some practice, the Belgian Federation had assigned him to referee the Racing-Leopold Matchup just hours before.
It is important to note that players were amateurs as professionalism was a long way off. All players were employed in other professions and had to take time off for such matches.
Since France’s Captain Fernand Canelle and Louis Mesnier did not want their employers to know they had taken time off for a Football match (still frowned upon at the time), for Press reports Fernand Canelle was referred to as ‘Fernand’ and Louis Mesnier was referred to as ‘Didi’.

Photo From: Les Bleus Author Denis Chaumier, 2004
(A cartoon of France’s Louis Mesnier)

France had taken along 12 players and as a result either Jacques Davy or Etienne Fontaine had to be discarded. Through a process of elimination (not exactly sure, perhaps lots were drawn) Davy was the chosen player.
At 4:55 PM (some sources show 4:45 PM) the two teams kicked off into History for a match that was referred to as ‘Coupe Franco-Belge.’
Just seven minutes into the match, Belgium’s Georges Quéritet scored Belgium’s first goal in History.
Just five minutes later, at 5:07 PM, Louis Mesnier scored France’s first ever goal (The French wore white for this their first ever International).
Just a minute later, France took the lead through Marius Royet.

Photo From :L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire
(The only known photograph of this match, shows Belgian players entering the field in the beginning of the second half)

Five minutes into the second half, Georges Quéritet once again scored for Belgium, becoming the first player to score two goals for Belgium.
In the 65th minute, Belgium took the lead through Pierre-Joseph Desterbecq.
It seemed like Belgium was headed for a win, when with three minutes remaining Gaston Cyprès scored France’s tying goal.
It had been a diplomatic tie that satisfied everyone for this ground-breaking event.
According to the Belgian Press, France had been lucky and their own goalkeeper Alfred Verdyck was to blame for France’s goals. It was generally agreed upon that France’s midfield needed improvement.
As far as the French Press were concerned, they had been better but praised Belgium’s midfielders.

Photo From: Le Siecle des Diables Rouges, Author: Christian Hubert
(Belgium goalkeeper Alfred Verdyck in later years as the Secretary General of the Belgian Federation)

Photo From : IFFHS-Belgique-Belgie (1904-1940)
(Belgium’s Camille van Hoorden)

Photo From : IFFHS-Belgique-Belgie (1904-1940)
(Belgium’s Edgard Poelmans)

This Historic event almost was virtually unnoticed in France. In fact their Group photograph was taken by Belgian Officials.
Interesting fact about this match was that France’s Canelle telegraphed the sports Journal ‘L’Auto’ (The main French Sports Daily) to give the team lineups, result and match summary.
Also Reporter Ernest Weber of ‘L’Auto’ was a linesman in this match and the official timekeeper.
France’s Georges Bilot and Jacques Davy played their only matches for France and were never called up again.
For some time Jacques Davy was not listed on any official document for this match, until the error was corrected.
Marius Royet, the scorer of France’s second goal, was tragically killed on the front during World War I in 1915.
For the post-match, Evence Coppée had organized two banquets for the teams at ‘Le Regina’ and ‘Caves de Maestricht’.
It was there that France’s Robert Guerin, his German counterpart and the Belgian Federation President Edouard de Lavaleye decided due to the success of this match to lay the groundwork to create FIFA.
20 days later on May 21st at Paris, FIFA would be founded.
This Belgium-France matchup became the first ever-International match to be recognized by FIFA.
France’s Adrien Filez would be the final survivor from either team. He passed away on October 15th, 1965, aged 80.

Photo From : IFFHS-Belgique-Belgie (1904-1940)
(Belgium squad)

Photo From :L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire
(Belgium and France squads)

Photo From :L’Equipe de France de Football, L’integrale des 497 Rencontres (1904-1991), Authors: Jean-Michel Cazal, Pierre Cazal, Michel Oreggia
(Belgium and France squads)

May 1, 1904
Belgium 3-France 3
Venue: Bruxelles (Brussels)- Stade du Vivier d’Oie
Attendance: 1,500
Referee: John C. Keene (England)
(Belgium): Georges Quéritet 7,50, Pierre-Joseph Desterbecq 65
(France): Louis Mesnier 12, Marius Royet 13, Gaston Cyprès 87   
Alfred Verdyck (Antwerp Football Club) 
Albert Friling (Beerschot Athletic Club-Antwerpen)                                  
Edgard Poelmans (Union Saint-Gilloise) 
Guillaume Van den Eynde (Union Saint-Gilloise)  
Charles Cambier (Football Club Brugeois)
Camille Van Hoorden (Captain) (Racing Club de Bruxelles)
Maurice Tobias (Union Saint-Gilloise)   
Alexandre Wigand (Union Saint-Gilloise) 
Georges Quéritet (Racing Club de Bruxelles)              
Pierre-Joseph Desterbecq (Union Saint-Gilloise)             
Charles Vanderstappen (Union Saint-Gilloise) 

Coach: Technical Commission

Maurice Guichard (Union Sportive Parisienne-Paris)
Fernand Canelle ‘Fernand’  (captain) (Club Français-Paris)
Joseph Verlet (Football Club de Paris 
Georges Bilot (Football Club de Paris  
Jacques Davy (Union Sportive Parisienne-Paris)
Charles Bilot (Football Club de Paris  
Louis Mesnier ‘Didi’ (Football Club de Paris  
Marius Royet (Union Sportive Parisienne-Paris)
Georges Garnier (Club Français-Paris)
Gaston Cyprès (Football Club de Paris  
Adrien Filez (Union Sportive Tourquennoise)

Coach: Technical Commission
Other Substitutes:
Emile Fontaine (Gallia Club- Paris)

IFFHS-Belgique-Belgie (1904-1940)
L’Equipe de France de Football, L’integrale des 497 Rencontres (1904-1991), Authors: Jean-Michel Cazal, Pierre Cazal, Michel Oreggia
Le Siecle des Diables Rouges, Author: Christian Hubert
Les Bleus, Le livre official de l'equiep de France, Author: Dominique Grimault, 1997
Les Bleus Author Denis Chaumier, 2004
L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire

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