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United States vs. Belgium preview: Americans start FIBA Women’s World Cup group play with their toughest match

The FIBA Women’s World Cup begins tomorrow!


The USA Basketball women’s national team begins tomorrow. Here’s what’s in store.

Gametime: Wednesday, Sept. 21 9:30 p.m. ET (local time, it would be Thursday, Sept. 22 at 11:30 a.m.)

Where: Sydney, Australia

How to watch: ESPN Plus

What’s in store: The Americans who weren’t playing in the WNBA Finals have been in Australia for some time. The players coming from the Finals will not have much time to get settled and this match will be their hardest on paper.

Belgium is generally regarded as the best team in the Group after America. They are led by Chicago Sky forward Emma Meesseman, whom we know very well and Sky guard Julie Allemand. After the Sky were eliminated in the semifinals, Belgian forward Antonia Delaere thought this was a “win win” for the Cats to have their best two players practicing for an extra week.

Team USA has already played Belgium once earlier this year at the Entertainment and Sports Arena last February and shouldn’t have much trouble defeating them on paper. Also, Belgium has underperformed in some recent tournaments like in the 2020 Olympics and each of their last two Women’s EuroBasket performances.

However, there are several American players who just came in or are still en route from the WNBA Finals, including WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson. Team USA won’t be at full strength or in rhythm, which could help the Cats pull off a big upset, We shall see.

About the United States

  • Capital: Washington
  • Population: 329.5 million
  • National Anthem: The Star Spangled Banner
  • Most well-known companies from the USA: Most of the biggest technology services and e-commerce platforms in the world are American. Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are based in the USA.
  • Attractions I would like to see in the United States: Well, I’m an American but this is a big country! So for me, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon.
  • Official Languages: None. But it is English in practice.
  • What do Belgians call the United States? De Verenigde Staten (Verenih-de Staht-en) in Dutch; Les États-Unis in French; Die Vereinigte Staaten in German
  • What is the most popular song in the United States by an American artist? The USA is the most powerful country in terms of pop music power. But the top song on Billboarts Hot 100 isn’t by an American. So Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” is the top song here at home by an American.

About Belgium

  • Capital: Brussels
  • Population: 11.56 million
  • National Anthem: De (Dutch)/La (French)/Die (German) Brabançonne
  • Most well-known companies from Belgium: AB InBev is the largest beer brewing conglomerate in the world, based in Leuven, a college town near Brussels. Their flagship brand is Stella Artois but the company also owns brands like Budweiser and Corona. In addition, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (which is part of Johnson & Johnson) is based near Antwerp.
  • Attractions I would like to see in Belgium: A tour of the various trappist breweries throughout the country.
  • Other things Belgium is known for to Americans: Since the European Union’s de facto capital is in Brussels, Belgium is like Europe’s DMV. It may very well be the most powerful country in the continent. I’ll let you read Emma Meesseman Week content from last February for anything else.
  • Official Languages: Dutch (about 60 percent speak it as a first language); French (about 40 percent); German (less than one percent)
  • What do Belgians call their country? België (Bel-hee-uh) in Dutch; Belgique in French; Belgien (Bel-ghee-un) in German
  • The first Belgian I can think of whose name isn’t Emma: The Belgians, okay, MANY Belgians may have left Washington for Chicago in women’s basketball. But we do have a Belgian on DC United. Christian Benteke is now on the team after playing six years for Crystal Palace. Bienvenue à Washington Monsieur Benteke ! / Welkom in Washington Meneer Benteke!
  • What is a popular song in Dutch speaking Belgium by Belgian artists? Unlike most countries in Europe, it isn’t accurate to listen to a general Belgian chart because there is a rather even language divide between Dutch and French. So we have to look at the charts in Flanders (the Dutch speaking region) and Wallonia (the French speaking region) to get a more realistic feel of the country. Brussels is officially bilingual (Dutch and French) but a mostly Francophone city. Therefore, we get two Belgian songs instead of one! According to the Ultratop Top 50 Singles Vlaanderen chart, “Ongewoon (Unusual)” by Pommelien Thijs (pronounced Tays) is No. 4 in the Flemish region as of Sept. 17.
  • What is a popular song in Francophone Belgium by Belgian artists? Stromae has the No. 15 song on the Ultratop Top 50 Singles Wallonie chart with “Mon Amour (My Love)” which features American singer Camila Cabello. It is also the No. 39 song on the Ultratop Top 50 Singles Vlaanderen chart as of Sept. 17.

Other games

All times are in ET. Keep in mind that ALL games are being played on Thursday, Sept. 22 in Sydney.

Wednesday, Sept. 21

  • 8:30 p.m.: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Puerto Rico, Group A
  • 11 p.m.: Canada vs. Serbia, Group B

Thursday, Sept. 22

  • 12 a.m.: Japan vs. Mali, Group B
  • 3:30 a.m.: China vs. Korea, Group A
  • 6:30 a.m.: Australia vs. France, Group B