Belgium vs Russia is the second game of Group B, and takes place in St Petersburg on June 12. Although Belgium are currently ranked the #1 team in the world by FIFA, this is only their sixth appearance at the European Championships and they have never bettered their debut performance in 1972 when they finished 3rd. They face a Russia side who won the tournament in 1960 but have only got out of the group stage once in their last six attempts. Read on for our match predictions and betting tips.
As you’d expect from the best ranked team in the world, Belgium come into this tournament on the back of just one defeat in their last 11 matches. Since losing to England in the Nations League, Belgium have won six of their last seven matches and have scored an astonishing 21 goals. While admittedly eight of those came against a poor Belarus side, Roberto Martinez’s men have swept past five fellow Euro2020 qualifiers with ease in that time.
Russia on the other hand are not in great form. They have won just four of their last 11 games, with just two of those wins coming in their last nine games. Although they have beaten Malta and Slovenia in World Cup qualifying games this year heavy defeats to Turkey and Serbia last November show that this Russian side will need to step up to get anywhere in this group. Defensively Russia are poor, with no clean sheets in five games and 12 goals conceded in that span.
Belgium have a very settled squad which allowed Roberto Martinez to name his final 26 long before the deadline to do so. Questions surround captain Eden Hazard whose time at Real Madrid has been fraught with injury and fitness issues, limiting him to just 30 appearances in the last two seasons at the Bernabeu. However Romelu Lukaku comes into the tournament after a second successful season with Inter, scoring 24 goals in Serie A this season as his team wrenched the Championship from the grasp of Juventus.
Russia’s hopes rest on two of their star midfielders making their mark on this tournament. Monaco midfielder Aleksandr Golovin missed the start of the season with a hamstring injury and although he’s come back to feature regularly for his club side he missed a game at the end of the season due to Coronavirus. As one of the most creative players Russia have they will need him to have recovered fully. Valencia midfielder Denis Cheryshev missed out on eight games this winter for his club, only returning at the end of March and like Golovin will be anxious to prove he’s fully fit and ready for this tournament.
It’s no real surprise that Belgium are hot favourites for this game bearing in mind the relative form each team is in. The better market to invest in may be goals, especially considering how prolific Belgium have been of late and how leaky the Russia defence has been. We think Belgium should win this convincingly - the only question really is how many goals they score in doing so after a long trip to St Petersburg. We recommend checking betting tips in the goals market for this game.