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Guy Thys

Personal information
Date of birth6 December 1922
Place of birthAntwerp, Belgium
Date of death1 August 2003(age 80)
Playing positionStriker

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Guy Thys (6 December 1922 - 1 August 2003) was the most successful Belgian national football coach in history.

Thys was born in Antwerp and started his career in the 1940s and 50s as a football player with Beerschot, Daring Molenbeek and Standard. In 1952 and 1953 he played two matches with the Red Devils, the Belgian national team.

He combined the activities of player and trainer for Cercle Brugge from 1954 until 1958. In 1959 he performed the same functions for Racing Lokeren. He became a fulltime trainer with Wezel the same year, followed by Herentals, Beveren, Union Sint-Gillis, and Antwerp. Antwerp was successful under Thys' leadership, including winning the Belgian Cup and twice finishing second in the championship. Partly due to these achievements Thys was appointed as national coach in 1976 and remained in the job until 1989, coaching the team for 101 games, 45 of which were victories. Eight months after stepping down as manager Thys was re-appointed in early 1990 to try and ensure qualification for the 1990 World Cup. The side duly qualified and was unlucky to be knocked out by the English national team. in the first match of the second round of the tournament. Thys again retired in 1991.

Under his lead the Red Devils participated twice in the European Championship and three times in the World Cup. In 1980, Belgium narrowly lost the European Championship final from Germany in Rome. In the opening game of the 1982 World Cup, Belgium surprised the world by beating the reigning world champions Argentina by 1-0. But Thys' most prominent success came in 1986 when Belgium ended fourth in the World Cup in Mexico. His team beat Spain and the Soviet Union, but was halted by Diego Maradona and his Argentine team in the semi finals.

Guy Thys died after a lingering disease and is survived by his wife Christiane.

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