Guy Thys

Guy Thys (6 December 1922 – 1 August 2003) was a Belgian football manager, mostly known for being the most successful manager in the history of the Belgium national football team as he managed to lead the national side to their only UEFA European Championship final in 1980 and a fourth–place finish at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.[1]

Guy Thys
Guy Thys (1976).jpg
Guy Thys pictured in 1977
Personal information
Full name Guy Jean Léonard Thys
Date of birth (1922-12-06)6 December 1922
Place of birth Antwerp, Belgium
Date of death 1 August 2003(2003-08-01) (aged 80)
Place of death Antwerp, Belgium
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position(s) Forward
Youth career
1934–1939 Beerschot
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1939–1950 Beerschot 143 (60)
1942–1943Daring Bruxelles (loan) 26 (12)
1950–1954 Standard Liège 104 (46)
1954–1958 Cercle Brugge 107 (41)
Total 380 (159)
National team
1952–1953 Belgium 2 (0)
Teams managed
1954–1958 Cercle Brugge
1958–1959 Lokeren
1960–1963 Wezel Sport
1963–1966 Herentals
1966–1969 Beveren
1969–1973 Union Saint-Gilloise
1973–1976 Royal Antwerp
1976–1989 Belgium
1990–1991 Belgium
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


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 full-time trainer with Wezel the same year, followed by Herentals, Beveren, Union Sint-Gillis, and Antwerp. Antwerp was successful under Thys' leadership, being finalist in the Belgian Cup and twice finishing second in the championship. Partly due to these achievements Thys was appointed Belgium manager in 1976 and remained in the job until 1989, managing the team for 101 games, 45 of which were victories. Eight months after stepping down as manager Thys was re-appointed in early 1990 in order to take charge of the team for the 1990 World Cup. The side duly qualified through the group stage and was unlucky to be knocked out by the English national team in the second round of the tournament. Thys retired again in 1991.

Under his lead the Red Devils participated twice in the European Championship, and three times at the World Cup. In 1980, Belgium narrowly lost the European Championship final to Germany in Rome. In the opening game of the 1982 World Cup, Belgium surprised the world by beating the reigning world champions Argentina 1–0. But Thys' most prominent success came in 1986 when Belgium finished 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 on 1 August 2003 after a lingering disease and is survived by his wife Christiane.[1]



Standard Liège


Royal Antwerp


  1. ^ a b "Guy Thys". The Telegraph. 4 August 2003. Retrieved 26 March 2020.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
  Jozef Vandercruyssen
Cercle Brugge top scorer
Succeeded by
  François Loos
Preceded by
  François Loos
Cercle Brugge top scorer
alongside François Loos

Succeeded by
  André Perot