Belgium loves their Red Devils. When their national football team makes it to the knockout stages of UEFA Euro 2016, the country shows its colors (Black, Yellow & Red). Last night I joined fans who braved rain and tightened security in the heart of historic Brussels to watch Belgium advance over Hungary in the tournament.
France is hosting this year’s cup and every bar in the city was broadcasting the game as it played out in Toulouse. The big screens may have been canceled and the military presence did bring back real security concerns, but the people crowding into and around the screens were eager, exuberant and as Belgium controlled this game, beaming with pride in their Red Devils.
The first pictures I took were from outside the El Metteko bar near Buers station and the Brussels Stock Exchange. Minutes north of here is the Grand Place and to the south some of the most lively restaurants and bars in Brussels. With my camera bag strapped around my shoulder and Canon out I was immediately welcomed by a fan shouting ‘Journaliste’ at me and urging me to take his picture. With a broad smile and the Belgian flag displayed on both sides of his face I had to oblige, even with the New York Yankees cap he was wearing (I’m a native of Boston and a Redsox fan, rivals of the Yankees).
From there I visited a couple other pubs before being drawn to the packed Saint-Gery. Once a covered market (among other things) and now hall for events and expositions, the hall was packed with fans of the national team who enjoyed the game on two huge screens and with fine Belgian beer on tap. Belgium advanced over Hungary 4 to 0, with three of their goals coming in the final minutes.
—All images and text are Copyright © Michael Durickas, All Rights Reserved.