Belgium travel to the Gazprom Arena to take on Russia on Saturday night in the first fixture of their respective Euro 2020 Group B campaigns.
As the number one ranked nation in the world, Roberto Martinez have a weight of expectation on their shoulders, while Russia will be looking to come out of this group.
If their recent meetings are anything to go by, we should be treated to a great spectacle here. We will explore Greatodds prices in this preview.
Belgium underlined their status as the top-ranked FIFA team with a perfect qualifying campaign where they racked off a perfect 10 wins in their 10 group games. However, critics aver that all these wins without a ring to show for it mean nothing and therefore the pressure is on them to deliver a trophy sooner rather than later.
Preparations have been good with 12 wins in their last 16 matches and they will look to carry that momentum here.
With the exception of a couple of players nursing knocks, Martinez has the full force of their golden generation and they will be out to silence their critics.
With the exception of the two losses to Belgium, Russia had a flawless qualifying campaign winning the remaining 8 games, scoring 31 goals and conceding just a single goal.
They tend to show up on home soil as they did three years ago when they reached the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals as hosts.
Russia captain and talisman Artem Dzyuba is back in the fold following after patching up differences with the management and he will lead the lines here in front of his own club’s fans.
A cursory look at their most recent matchups points to a massive advantage for Belgium. The Red Devils secured 3-1 and 4-1 wins over Russia when the sides locked horns during qualifying for Euro 2020 qualifiers and they remain unbeaten in their seven meetings with the hosts. With Belgium adopting a laser beam focus on delivering a major trophy to get the monkey off their backs, the omens do not portend well for the hosts. We are anticipating an action-packed game that should see a bucketload of goals but whose ultimate result will see the Red Devils emerging victorious. Therefore Belgium to Win and Over 2.5 goals is the first of our Euro 2020 predictions for today.
Even with Kevin De Bruyne unlikely to play a part in this one because of a facial injury suffered in the Champions League final, the Belgians boast of an abundance of talent across the length and breadth of the pitch. Martinez’s preferred 3-4-3 formation often sees them dominate large swathes of games. We expect more of the same here and with Russia determined to sit deep, this should earn the Belgians quite a few corners. We are going for Over 4.5 Corners for Belgium @ 1.45 to close our tips here.
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