Today’s Predictions: Belgium vs England

Belgium 2 – 0 England

Belgium vs England

The 3rd place match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 sees two giants of European Football face each other, as France go against the ever-improving Belgium side.  

  • Date : 14th July 2018
  • Time : 7:30 PM (IST)
  • Venue : Krestovsky Stadium   

Two of the pre-tournament favourites go head to head in the 3rd place match of the World Cup, having narrowly missed out on the final.

FIFA World Cup Qualification

England had a near perfect qualification campaign, with 8 wins and two away draws against Slovakia and Scotland. They scored 18 and conceded just 3 goals in a favourable group with just Slovakia as their nearest challengers. They won the group with an 8-point margin, with Harry Kane leading the way with 5 goals. 

Belgium dominated their way to World Cup qualification, scoring a record 43 goals while conceding only 6. Though they were placed in relatively easy group with Bosina – Herzegovina and Greece their only real challengers, The Red Devils delivered a strong statement of intent that their ‘Golden Generation’ is more than ready to live up to that tag. They won 9 matches and drew one to Greece, with Lukaku leading the way with 11 goals and Eden Hazard in stupendous form himself.

Team Form Before The Tournament

England have been unbeaten in their last 6 matches, with 3 draws and 3 wins. Credible draws against Brazil, Germany and Italy and a big win over The Netherlands helped Gareth Southgate’s young squad to gain some much needed confidence. Their most recent match against Costa Rica ended in a dominant 2-0 win.

Belgium are unbeaten in their last 4 games, as Roberto Martinez seems to have gotten the perfect formula for all their big name players to gel. Big wins against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Costa Rica proved their potent attack can be devastating, while a 0-0 draw against Portugal was a good test for their defence.

England and Belgium in the World Cup So Far

England earned 3 crucial points in their opening game against Tunisia, with Harry Kane scoring an important brace, including a dramatic stoppage time winner. The 3 lions played attractive football but found it hard to break down an average defence, something they’ll have to work on. They won their next game convincingly against Panama, before losing to Belgium in their 3rd game. England gave a spirited performance to overcome Colombia in the round of 16, on penalties, to book their quarter final place. In the quarters, England were dominant from the start, and overcame an uninspired Swedish side with relative ease, winning 2-0. England faced a huge challenge against Croatia in the semifinal, and despite taking the lead early on, succumbed to a 2-1 defeat in extra time to hand the Croats their first ever final.

Belgium were dominant as expected against Panama, with Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne eventually stepping up to assist Romelu Lukaku. The defence, along with Thibaut Courtois, is also looking confident and this bodes well for the side for the games ahead. They went on to record two more impressive victories over Tunisia and England to complete a perfect record in the group stages. In one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament, Belgium came back from 0-2 down to Japan to win the game 3-2 with an injury time winner. They next faced Brazil in probably their biggest international match in history, and an incredibly fiery performance in the first half from all their big players saw them win this match 2-1. Belgium started brightly against France in the semifinal, but poor performances from the likes of Lukaku De Bruyne ensured they were lacking in attack, and after France scored there was no way back for them, as they lost 1-0.

Head To Head Record

These two nations have met 7 times before, and Belgium finally managed beat England in their first meeting in this tournament. England have won twice and drawn 4 of those games.   

Team News

Gareth Southgate had some tough decisions to make when it came to finalizing the 23 man World Cup squad. The biggest exclusion was Ryan Bertrand, dropped in favour of Danny Rose and Ashley Young. Chris Smalling couldn’t find a place either, while Adam Lallana and Jack Wilshere were deemed not fit enough to board the plane to Russia. 

Belgium have one of the most formidable starting lineups in the tournament, with defensive cover cited as their only weakness. A major shock was the exclusion of AS Roma’s combative midfielder Radja Nainggolan from the final 23 man squad, a decision which forced the player to take immediate retirement from international football and sent shockwaves down the European football circuit. Belgium would be happy to have Michy Batshuayi back from a lengthy injury though.

Players To Watch Out For

Harry Kane is England’s best hope in recent years to fire them to World Cup glory, with the prolific marksman one of the favourites for the golden boot. His Spurs’ teammate Dele Alli along with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling will aid him in attack. Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Chelsea hotshot Ruben Loftus Cheek have been impressive of late and could lock down a permanent spot in the starting lineup. 

Belgium have an abundance of world class talent to choose from, none more so than Chelsea’s mercurial forward Eden Hazard. Widely considered as one of the best players in the world, this could finally be Hazard’s golden chance to prove that he is on the same level as Messi and Ronaldo. Kevin De Bruyne, arguably the Premier League’s best player last season will be pulling the strings in midfield, while Manchester United’s striker Romelu Lukaku would be gunning for the Golden Boot, hoping to overtake Harry Kane.

Belgium vs England Betting Odds And Key Statistics

  • This is Belgium’s 13th World Cup appearance.
  • England failed to qualify from the group stages for the first time since 1958, when they were knocked out in 2014.
  • Belgium won their first 4 games at the 2014 World Cup before being eliminated by Argentina in the quarterfinal, and they won their first 5 games before being beaten by France in the semi at this world cup.  
  • Harry Kane has successfully carried his club form to this tournament. And is one of the favourites to win the golden boot. Similarly, Romelu Lukaku has also scored 4 goals already, and we would recommend betting on either of them to open the scoring.

Predicted Result

This match could well be one of the most evenly contested matches of the tournament, with both teams wanting to prove their superiority, having missed out on the World Cup Final. We expect this match to end in a scored draw in 90 minutes, and then Belgium to win in extra time.

Our Predicted Score line : England 1-2 Belgium (After Extra Time)

 


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