Thursday 21 Mar

Belgium vs Russia - Match Preview

21 Mar 2019 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL: Euro Cup Qualification, Group I
INTERNATIONAL: Euro Cup Qualification, Group I

Belgium

  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

vs

Kick-off
19:45 GMT
21 March 2019

Russia

  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Kick-off
19:45 GMT 21 March 2019

With the European domestic season getting closer to its end, there is a delay for a couple of weeks due to the return of the international break. The focus is on the European Championships next summer and the first qualifier in Group I sees Belgium play host to Russia.

STATS

  • Belgium achieved more than they would have expected at the World Cup last year as they came 3rd and potentially deserved a place in the final after their performance against France. They have only lost one of their six fixtures since then but they failed to qualify for the Nations League semi-finals with that loss coming against Switzerland.
  • Russia hosted a fantastic tournament last year and performed very well, knocking out Spain on their way to a quarter-final. Their form since the tournament has been a mixed bag as they won three, drew one and lost two of their six games. They have lost both of their last two games: a 3-0 loss to Germany and then 2-0 away at Sweden.
  • Romelu Lukaku is a big source of goals for Belgium but after missing training this week, it looks as though the attacking mantle will be passed to Michy Batshuayi and Christian Benteke.
  • Artem Dzyuba and Denis Cheryshev led the way for goals at the World Cup for Russia and they’re going to need at least a couple to overcome a strong Belgium side.

HEAD TO HEAD

Belgium and Russia have met on five occasions on the international stage dating back to 1996. Russia have failed to win any of these fixtures with two draws and three losses, the most recent of those being any entertaining 3-3 stalemate in 2017 in the build-up to the World Cup. There have been over 2.5 goals in two of the five meetings with both teams scoring in both of those games.

BELGIUM NEWS

As mentioned, Lukaku has withdrawn from the squad along with Mousa Dembele and Thomas Meunier.

Latest matches: Belgium

18.11.2018 UEFA Switzerland Belgium 5:2 L
15.11.2018 UEFA Belgium Iceland 2:0 W
16.10.2018 Int. Belgium Netherlands 1:1 D
12.10.2018 UEFA Belgium Switzerland 2:1 W
11.09.2018 UEFA Iceland Belgium 0:3 W

RUSSIA NEWS

The visitors will be without two of their most influential players as Roman Zobnin and Ilya Kutepov have been forced to remove themselves from the squad with injuries.

Latest matches: Russia

20.11.2018 UEFA Sweden Russia 2:0 L
15.11.2018 Int. Germany Russia 3:0 L
14.10.2018 UEFA Russia Turkey 2:0 W
11.10.2018 UEFA Russia Sweden 0:0 D
10.09.2018 Int. Russia Czech Republic 5:1 W

SUMMARY

Even though Russia performed well in the World Cup, they are expected to really struggle on Wednesday against one of the planet’s strongest sides. Four of Belgium’s last five wins have been by at least two goals which is why backing them to win with a -1 handicap looks wise. Over 2.5 goals in the match also looks very likely.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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