Luxembourg's first club, CS Fola Esch Football and Lawn Tennis Club, was founded on 9 December 1906. Two years later there were 13 teams and a federation to look after them. An official national championship duly followed, with 26 sides involved in the inaugural edition in 1909/10. Racing Club Luxembourg – now Racing FC Union Lëtzebuerg – took the honours to mark the game's arrival in the Grand Duchy. Now the Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Football (FLF) boasts 109 affiliated clubs and more than 32,000 licensed members.
Luxembourg gained FIFA membership in 1910, and on 29 October 1911 the national team played their first official match against France. The encounter ended in a 4-1 defeat for the visitors. Yet revenge was sweet: Luxembourg overcame the same opponents 5-4 in the sequel on 8 February 1914. Participation at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, concluding in a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands, was another early highlight.
In 1930 the national association acquired its current name, FLF, and the sport began to enjoy a tremendous surge in popularity. The number of sides grew rapidly, and youngsters were encouraged to take up the game. The Luxembourg Cup had already been established, in 1922, with Racing Club – 2-0 victors over AS Jeunesse Esch – again the first winners. Inevitably, the Second World War slowed down football's development but did not put a stop to it.
In September 1951, the FLF acquired its own premises which would house the federation headquarters until February 2002. Three years later the association joined the newly formed European governing body, UEFA, and promptly Spora, in 1956, became the country's first representative in the European Champion Clubs' Cup. Since then, Luxembourg's clubs have featured regularly in continental competition, with the national team doing likewise in qualifying for UEFA European Championships and FIFA World Cups.
The highlight for the national side remains their performance in the 1964 UEFA European Championship. Luxembourg eliminated the Netherlands in the round of 16 and just missed out on the semi-finals: the team drew with Denmark home and away in their quarter-final – 5-5 on aggregate – yet lost 1-0 in a replay held in neutral Amsterdam. Luxembourg have proved a stumbling block for more fancied teams, beating Turkey 2-0 in a 1974 World Cup qualifying match and overcoming the Czech Republic 1-0 in a EURO '96 qualifier.
Most recently, on 10 September 2008, they surprised Switzerland by recording a 2-1 victory in a World Cup qualifying tie in Zurich. Much has been accomplished, but the forward planning never ends. In 2000/01 the FLF opened a centre of excellence for forming young players in Mondercange. The federation headquarters were then completely relocated, in June 2005, to the same base in the south of the country. Such innovations are cementing Luxembourg's solid football foundations.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.