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Euro 2020 Belgium vs Russia: Preview, predictions, team news, betting tips, odds

June 11, 2021 | 15:25

Belgium are set to play Russia at the Gazprom Arena on Saturday in the group stage of UEFA Euro 2020. Here is the preview, predictions, team news betting tips and odds of this match.

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Belgium are among the favourites for Euro 2020 as the Red Devils kick off their bid for glory with a clash against Russia.

Roberto Martinez’s side are currently ranked No1 in the FIFA world rankings, but that means they can no longer be considered dark horses to finally land a trophy.

As for Russia, they head into this game as the underdogs, but will be determined not to lose in St Petersburg - and their impressive World Cup quarter-final run back in 2018 proves they should not be underestimated on home soil.

Date, kick-off time and venue

Photo: The Stats Zone
Photo: The Stats Zone

Belgium vs Russia is scheduled for an 8pm BST kick-off on Saturday, June 12, 2021.

Belgium vs Russia: Team News

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Belgium's influential playmaker Kevin De Bruyne has been forced to go under the knife for facial fractures sustained in the Champions League final, and Martinez has played down his chances of being fit for Saturday's opener.

The Manchester City man is joined on the sidelines by Axel Witsel - returning to his former home following his stint with Zenit St Petersburg - with an Achilles issue, while the injury-plagued Eden Hazard may not be risked from the off just yet.

Leandro Trossard and Dedryck Boyata have shaken off knocks and should be available to Martinez, but it would be a surprise to see either man start, with Jan Vertonghen and Thorgan Hazard expected to get the nods.

Sticking with the theme of facial injuries, Russia midfielder Dmitri Barinov took a blow to the nose and had to be taken off against Bulgaria, but the 24-year-old ought to be fine for the opening encounter.

Roman Zobnin has also shaken off an unspecified issue, but veteran defender Fedor Kudryashov will play no part against Belgium due to a calf problem.

Sobolev's late winner against Bulgaria is unlikely to see him rewarded with a start over Artem Dzyuba, as the 6ft 6in forward aims to hit 30 goals for the national team and go level with all-time top scorer Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

Belgium possible starting lineup:

Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen; Castagne, Tielemans, Dendoncker, Carrasco; Mertens, Hazard; Lukaku

Russia possible starting lineup:

Shunin; Barinov, Dzhikiya, Semenov; Fernandes, Zobnin, Ozdoev, Kuzyaev; Miranchuk, Golovin; Dzyuba

Belgium vs Russia: Match preview

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Forty-one years on from their unsuccessful venture in the 1980 tournament - which saw Belgium fall victim to the prowess of West Germany in the final - Martinez will endeavour to lead the world's top-ranked nation to the maiden international honour which they so crave.

A flawless qualification period for Euro 2020 saw Belgium qualify with 30 points taken from a possible 30, but the heartache of 2016 still lingers in the memories of the players involved in that infamous summer, when Wales stunned the continent to prevail 3-1 and dump the Red Devils out in the quarter-finals.

That tournament represented Belgium's first appearance at the Euros since 2000, but their meteoric rise over the past decade means that they are among the favourites to go all the way this summer, and failing to top a group comprising Russia, Denmark and Finland would be nothing short of disastrous.

Martinez was not treated to the goal-laden performances he has become accustomed to seeing from his side in their warm-up matches, though, as Greece held Belgium to a 1-1 draw before a 38th-minute Romelu Lukaku strike was all it took to get them over the line against Croatia.

Nevertheless, Belgium enter the Euros on the back of a nine-game unbeaten run across all competitions, and with plenty of talented individuals in their ranks to boot, so the Red Devils need no added incentive to lay down a marker on the first matchday against their ever-hopeful opponents.

Similarly, Russia more or less blew the competition out of the water to secure progression into the finals tournament, with two defeats to upcoming opponents Belgium the only blips for Stanislav Cherchesov's men en route to the Euros.

During the days of the Soviet Union, the inaugural competition in 1960 - then a mere four-team tournament - ended with Russia lifting the trophy aloft, but a semi-final appearance in 2008 for an Andrey Arshavin-inspired Russia has since been their only standout performance amid a spate of group-stage exits.

Three years on from welcoming the world's best to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, Cherchesov's side are far from guaranteed a knockout berth at the Euros with Denmark also occupying a place in Group B, and only a late Aleksandr Sobolev penalty could propel them to victory in a friendly with Bulgaria last weekend.

A somewhat dissatisfactory Nations League campaign preceded two wins from their opening three games of World Cup qualification, and while Russia's recent form is certainly mixed to say the least, only 11 perfect individual performances will do if they are to get one over the number one ranked team in the world.

Belgium secured 3-1 and 4-1 wins over Russia when the sides locked horns during qualifying for Euro 2020, and the Red Devils are unbeaten in their seven meetings with Saturday's opponents, whose most memorable result in this fixture was a 3-3 draw in a 2017 friendly.

Belgium vs Russia Prediction

This is probably the last chance for Belgium's golden generation to win an international trophy. The potential absence of two stars in the form of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard could prove to be problematic. However, Romelu Lukaku enjoyed an excellent season with Inter Milan and he will surely be a danger to any opposition.

Russia, on the other hand, will rely on the goalscoring prowess of Artem Dyzuba, who scored 20 league goals for Zenit Saint Petersburg this season. Midfielders Aleksei Miranchuk and Aleksandr Golovin have shown glimpses of their talent at club level, and they will be key.

Belgium should be able to win here.

Prediction: Belgium 2-1 Russia

Belgium vs Russia Head-to-Head

In seven head-to-head encounters between the two sides, Belgium hold the clear advantage. They have won five games and drawn two.

The two countries last faced each other in 2019, with Belgium beating Russia 4-1. A first-half brace from star attacker Eden Hazard and goals from forward Thorgan Hazard and striker Romelu Lukaku sealed the deal for Belgium.

Belgium form guide: W-D-W-D-W

Russia form guide: W-D-L-W-W

Belgium vs Russia: Betting tips

Belgium to Win

Belgium have played Russia seven times before, picking up five wins and two draws. Belgium ran out 4-1 winners when they last locked horns with Russia 2-years ago and head into Saturday's game on the back of four wins and two draws from their last six international matches. Russia have lost two, won three and drawn one of their last six fixtures but haven't played any country even close to the level of Belgium during that period.

BTTS

Four of the last six encounters between these two countries have ended with both teams getting on the scoreboard, and we're expecting more of the same on Saturday. Both teams have scored in four of Belgium's and four of Russia's last six international matches, so you can see just why we're not expecting to see a single clean sheet come the final whistle.

Over 2.5 Goals

Four of the last six head-to-heads between Belgium and Russia have produced over 2.5 goals and we're hopeful that this weekend's clash will turn out to be a goal-fest as well. Three of Belgium's last six matches have also featured over 2.5 goals, including an 8-0 win over Belarus and a 4-2 win against Denmark. Four of Russia's last six games have witnessed at least three goals being scored, including a 5-0 defeat to Serbia and a 3-1 win over Malta.

• Prediction one: Full-Time Result – Belgium to Win @ 7/10

• Prediction two: Both Teams to Score – BTTS @ 10/11

• Prediction three: Total Goals – Over 2.5 Goals @ 19/20

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