Belgium will look to live up to the hype when they take on Russia in Group B on Saturday night, with Roberto Martinez’s side one of the favourites to win Euro 2020.
Belgium come into the tournament as the world’s top-ranked team, but they do not have the happiest recent memory of the European Championship as they failed to live up to expectations at Euro 2016, when Wales beat them in the quarter-finals.
The Red Devils’ best result at the European Championship came in 1980 when they finished second, but they will fancy their chances if they can overcome Russia in Saint Petersburg.
Belgium to Lean on Lukaku
Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku enjoyed a stellar campaign in Serie A as he helped his side lift the Scudetto.
There are plenty of other stars in the squad but Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will sit out Saturday’s match as he recovers from a fractured eye socket and nose, while Eden Hazard is not in form after a hit-and-miss spell at Real Madrid.
Martinez will now rely on Lukaku, and the powerful forward has shown he can shoulder the responsibility.
He has scored 49 goals in 51 games for Belgium, and punters could do worse than backing him to score two or more on Saturday at odds of
Dzyuba Sets His Sights on the History Books
Saturday’s battle may not end up being all about Lukaku, with Russia striker Artem Dzyuba having the chance to make history this summer.
The 29-year-old has scored 29 goals for his country, and he is two short of becoming Russia’s all-time leading scorer.
At 6ft 6inches, Dzyuba will be a handful for any defence, and Belgium have conceded goals to Wales, the Czech Republic and Greece of late, and that will give Russia plenty of confidence.
1/1 to win the match, Dzyuba’s price to score anytime is probably higher than it should be, and at 12/5, the Zenit St Petersburg ace offers excellent value to score.
Recent Form Points to Belgium
Having said that, Belgium should still have too much quality to be denied an opening win as they go into the tournament on a nine-match unbeaten streak, winning seven of those matches.
If Even money on a Belgium victory isn’t big enough though, it is worth noting that Martinez’s men have only kept three clean sheets in that hot streak with the likes of Greece, Wales, Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland all able to get on the scoresheet.
A Belgium win with both teams to score offers a bit more value at
29/10, while a victory for the Red Devils with over 2.5 goals is available at
Russia proved at the last World Cup they could be a handful on home territory but recent history is against them and they don’t look capable of causing a shock.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s men may have qualified for Euro 2020 with eight wins and just two defeats, but those losses were both at the hands of Belgium, with the Red Devils running out convincing winners 3-1 at home and 4-1 in Saint Petersburg, Saturday’s venue.
*All odds correct at time of writing.