LIVESTREAM: Team Spain @Belgian Barbarians Sat. Aug. 19 7p CEST (1p EDT)

The Belgian Barbarians open their 2017 international season hosting Team Spain on Saturday, August 19 at Mine Stadium in Beringen, Belgium.

In their fourth year of existence, the Belgian squad under head coach Lee Rosky has undergone remarkable improvement. They have won four of six games since 2014. The Barbarians defeated the Spaniards a year ago in Spain 14-6 and there is no doubt Spanish coach Marcos Guirles and his team will be looking to avenge that loss.

Rosky is not expecting an easy game:

“We are expecting a tough game, Spain wants revenge after last year and I am sure they are chomping at the bit to get another shot at us. Should be a lot of fun.”

Team Belgium relies on a quartet of veterans which include quarterback Thomasz Firszt, wide receiver Mike Schoonheyt, linebacker Nick Vanhee and defensive back Hadrien Godichal. Although the team is missing a couple of key players in receiver Ruben De Ruyter and running back Arkadi Meerschout (both playing in Finland for the Hämeenlinna Huskies) Rosky is confident his core group can handle the responsibility:

“These four captains are the foundation of the program at the moment. We have great players playing abroad at the moment but these are the four guys who are coming to practice and helping build the program.”

Spain’s Guirles:

“Last year we they won in a very even match. Two big plays made the difference. Hopefully, this year things will work in our favor. We are looking for the first historic victory for this senior team. And I am convinced that we will get it. We have come very in several games and it’s time to get there,.”

The Spaniards enter the game with a young team, sprinkled with veterans, but according to Guirles, this is an excellent mix and he is optimistic he says.:

“We have new young team who have worked hard over the past few weeks. Together with the contributions of the veterans, who will give us the necessary poise and experience when we need it, we are confident we can come home with a win.”

The Barbarians have been one of the busiest national teams in Europe since Rosky took over in 2014, playing between two and four games a year. Last year they beat both Spain and Hungary. In 2015, they played four games including a tough loss to Holland in a European qualifier in front of almost 5,000 roaring Dutch fans.

Kickoff: Saturday, August 19 7p CEST (1 p EDT)

Watch the game live on the Limburg Shotguns Facebook page. The feed will go live at least 30 minutes before kickoff. 

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.