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Belgium vs. Russia Euros Build-Up Action, Insights and Key Players

07 June 2021

Saturday 12 June

Krestovsky Stadium – Euro 2020

Belgium celebrate a goal in their friendly draw with Greece Source:(Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/Shutterstock)

Belgium vs. Russia Euro 2020 Build-Up

Belgium kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign with a difficult first match against Russia on Saturday. Despite the match being played in St Petersberg Spin Sports online football betting sees Roberto Martinez’s side as favourites.

Past Euros

Belgium were knocked-out by Wales in a heavy 3-1 defeat at the 2016 European championships with their best ever performance being as runners up in the 1980 edition of the competition.

Russia have a strong record in the European Championships having won in 1960 as the Soviet Union and finished as runners-up on three further occasions. As Russia the best performance was in 2008 in which they were beaten in the semi-final by eventual winners Spain.

Key Players and Insights

Roberto Martinez has plenty of quality in his squad that has benefitted from the development of youth players in recent years. Youri Tielemans has shone for Leicester this season whilst Leandro Dendoncker provides versatility in either midfield or defence. Unfortunately for Belgium their two star players, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne are unlikely to be fit for the group stage with the burden falling on Romelu Lukaku.

Salamovich Cherchesov is expected to build his squad around Aleksandr Golovin as he did in the 2018 World Cup, although Russia have seen a number of other key players emerge over the past three years. Aleksey Miranchuk scored seven goals from midfield for Atalanta this season, whilst Matvey Safonov has been attracting interest from the Premier League this season.

Belgium vs. Russia Build-Up Action

Both Belgium and Russia impressed in the 2018 World Cup with the two sides hoping to further their ambitions this summer.

Roberto Mancini’s side finished in third place, having been knocked out by fine margins in the semi-finals by eventual winners, France. Belgium are priced as third favourites to win Euro 2020 and the conditions are all in place for them to progress far in the tournament.

The Red Devils are undoubtedly the strongest side in Group B, however, they are significantly weakened by the absence of captain Eden Hazard and creative midfielder Kevin de Bruyne. The former will likely be fully fit should Belgium make it to the knock-outs but is unlikely to make an impact on the earlier stages. For the Manchester City man it is unclear whether he will play any part at all, having suffered an orbital fracture in the Champions League final.

Players such as Thorgan Hazard, Yannick Carrasco and Dries Mertens are more than capable of deputising, however without their two superstars Belgium are a very different prospect.

Russia were the surprise package of the 2018 World Cup and were knocked-out on penalties in the quarter finals by Croatia. Cherechesov’s side were widely praised for their inexhaustive style of play, reportedly covering more distance than any other team in the group stages. Victory over Spain was a particular highlight for the hosts and proves evidence that they are unlikely to be overwhlemd by teams that are superior on paper.

The Northernmost side for this summer’s competition face one signficant area of improvement: their attacking play. Whilst Russia was able to dispatch the likes of Saudi Arabia by five goals they struggled to balance attack and defence against top teams. Since the World Cup this has remained an issue with Cherechesov’s team either winning heavily or conceding a high number of goals.

With two high-class attacking midfielers but little defensive talent, Russia should provide plenty of entertainment once again this summer.

Recommended Bets

Romelu Lukaku to finish top scorer at 7.5

The Inter striker has been in the form of his life this season and with Hazard out the team will be built around Lukaku scoring.

Kevin de Bruyne to be player of the tournament at 10.00

The Manchester City playmaker has to overcome a nasty injury to be involved in the next few weeks but if he can he may have something to prove after the Champions League final ended in disappointment.