England Travel to Belgium to Face the Top Ranked Team
Last updated: November 12, 2020 by Leon Marshal
|Venue:||King Power Stadion|
|Last Meeting:||England 2 – 1 Belgium|
|Competition:||UEFA Nations League|
All eyes will be on the King Power Stadion as Belgium aim to revenge their 2 – 1 loss at Wembley as the UEFA Nations League takes centre stage once again. It doesn’t get much better than this with the stakes high on who wins the group. More importantly, who qualifies for the next stage with the margins so close and with Denmark lurking around.
This game is the seventh competitive meeting between the sides, the last six playing rather evenly with two wins, two draws, and two losses.
Belgium top the group with nine points only dropping points in their 2 – 1 defeat against England. Roberto Martinez will open an unassailable lead at the top if his side wins this encounter to continue their impressive home record of ten consecutive home wins scoring 46 goals. Belgium has lost just four games in 47 games under Roberto Martinez winning 36 drawing seven, their defeat against England was their first since November 2018 against Switzerland. The previous defeat against England came in the 1990 World Cup.
Romelu Lukaku is still doubtful despite featuring in Inter Milan’s team over the weekend making a 73rd-minute cameo. Kevin De Bruyne returns to the starting line-up after missing October’s game with an injury and Eden Hazard seems to have overcome his injury as Belgium looks to field a strong squad with the stakes very high in this encounter. Lukaku has scored 13 goals in the last 11 appearances for Inter Milan would be a great boost for his side if he is fit. The dynamic trio would be a threat having had more success against the Three Lions, especially when they needed to turn up and produce a good performance.
The Pressure is still on the FIFA ranked number one team to make the most of their golden generation. The height of their success still stands at finishing third in the World Cup with the UEFA Nations League opening up a platform for them to secure silverware before the generation ages out. Martinez’s side feels safe at the top. Still, they have the toughest two fixtures having to face second-placed Denmark who could be regarded as underdogs in this race but has a realistic chance to qualify as they face Iceland at the weekend, who have not collected a single point.
England sits third in this group, level on points with second-placed Denmark with seven points apiece but England has an inferior goal difference (1 goal behind). They have won their last four competitive away games without conceding, a great boast heading to this must-win fixture to keep them in the race for qualification. A defeat would be extremely damaging to their qualification hopes. They lost 1 – 0 against Denmark in what could be a costly defeat coming immediately after their win against Belgium.
Jordan Pickford’s performances for Everton have not been particularly great but is still untouchable with Dean Henderson, who is the best option still fighting in the shadow of De Gea, not given a chance with the first team. Rashford became just the fourth player to score in four consecutive games for England after Bobby Charlton, David Beckham, and Wayne Rooney (achieved this fate twice). Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced out of their derby against Manchester City with a suspected calf injury could be a big miss for The Three Lions as one of their most creative player on the pitch.
Harry Kane, who has seven goals and eight assists, has the best numbers in the squad alongside Jack Grealish. The latter has been one of the standout performers in the Premier League, leading his club side to big wins. Villa won 7-2 against champions Liverpool, and last weekend he starred in his team’s 3 – 0 away win against Arsenal. He is showing great consistency in his performances and helped to extend his side’s 100% away record. The 25-year-old has four goals and five assists in 7 games as one of the most in-form midfielders in the Premier League.
Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford have had a slow start to their season with James Recce, and Harry Maguire banned. Gareth Southgate would once again have to shuffle up from his regular starting line-up to bring some players on the form a managerial decision that has seen his side not struggle to bag goals with just three goals in four games.
The hosts could feature their best side including; De Bruyne, Hazard, and Lukaku (who have all been struggling with injury problems) as Belgium seek to control the group that they are leading.
The FIFA ranked number 1 has had a good record under Roberto Martinez losing just four games in 47 games winning 36 and drawing seven.
Grealish has four goals and five assists in seven games in the Premier League alongside Harry Kane, who has seven goals and eight assists.
Southgate’s 2 – 1 win against Belgium was a great boost for their UEFA Nations League qualification and once again need a result to stay alive in the race for the top two.
|Belgium (4-2-3-1):||Mignolet, Alderweireld, Denayer, Boyata, Meuier, De Bruyne, Witsel, Tielemans, T. Hazard, Origi, E. Hazard, Lukaku|
|Subs:||Roef, Dendoncker, Tiellemans, Dimata, Mignolet, Vanaken, Verschaeren, Praet, Trossard, Benteke, Kaminski|
|Doubtful:||Lukaku, E. Hazard|
|England (3-4-2-1):||Pickford, Walker, Coady, Mings, Chilwell, Henderson, Rice, Mount, Grealish, Rashford, Kane|
|Subs:||Pope, Dier, Gomez, Keane, Mount, Winks, Abraham, Sancho, Foden, Calvert-Lewin, Saka, Keane|
|Not available:||Maguire, James|
So Far This Season
|Belgium This Season||England This Season|
|4 (2)||Wins (away)||2 (1)|
|5 – 1 v Iceland||Biggest Win||2 – 1 v Belgium|
|0 (0)||Draws (away)||1 (1)|
|1 – 2 v England||Biggest Defeat||0 – 1 v Denmark|
|Lukaku (3)||Top Goal Scorer||Sterling (1)|
|Y3, R0||Discipline||Y8, R3|
|0||Failures to Score||2|
|75%||Both Teams to Score Games||25%|
|75%||Over 2.5 Goals||25%|
|25%||Under 2.5 Goals||75%|
- England and Belgium have played six competitive games; A fair fight with both sides winning twice and drawing the other two.
- Lukaku will be the best goal scorer on the pitch, with as many goals as the entire England team in the competition.
- England has just scored three goals while Belgium is the best goal scorer in the Nations League with ten goals.
- England needs this win more than Belgium but has an easier final fixture against Iceland who has been the groups whipping boys without a single point, Belgium plays Denmark.
Head to Head
|Last 4 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|14/10/2020||UEFA NL||England 2 – 1 Belgium||Lukaku 16’|
|14/07/2018||World Cup||Belgium 2 – 0 England||Meunier 4’|
|28/06/2018||World Cup||England 0 – 1 Belgium||Januzaj 51’|
|02/06/2012||Euro||England 1 – 0 Belgium||Welbeck 36’|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Belgium’s second-half performance against England in their 2-1 defeat will have angered Roberto Martinez, and the Belgium coach will expect his team to be much more focused at home. Attacking midfielder Dries Mertens has been in great form in the Nations League, the 33-year-old Napoli attacking midfielder has scored two and assisted one in two appearances. Another threat is former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku who has scored twelve goals in thirteen appearances, including three in the Nations League.
For England, this is a must-win game. Lose against Belgium, and it will be a very nervy last round of fixtures, and we might see a scenario in which Belgium and Denmark could settle for a draw to go through. England has lost their bite, in last year’s EURO qualifiers they beat Bulgaria 6-0, Montenegro 7-0 and Kosovo 4-0 but have found the goals have dried up this year. Discipline is also a problem, they have had eight yellow cards and three red cards, Belgium has just three yellow cards.
We would love to see England win this one, but that’s our hearts speaking rather than our heads. That said, a draw would be a great result and not an unrealistic prospect. For our prediction, we are going for a 1-1 draw; the draw is priced @ 9/4 with 1-1 available @11/2 with bet365.