Tournament favourites, Belgium will be aiming to lift this year’s Euro 2020 as they confront Russia in a Group B match at the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg.
Since the resumption of football post-lockdown in 2020, the Red Devils have played 13 games in total losing just one (W9 D3), a run that has helped them reach the final stages of the UEFA Nations League while putting them in a strong position in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
However, the Belgians have some great form coming into this game and they should be able to see off Russia even if Kevin De Bruyne can’t feature. With plenty of star performers in their golden generation and some recent joy over Russia, expect the Red Devils to kick off with a win.
Whether their ageing stars can kick on and land that elusive trophy is another question, but this could be their last chance for quite some time given the average age of their squad.
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Russia, meanwhile, enjoyed a straightforward run in the qualifiers as well. Drawn in the same group as Belgium, Stanislav Cherchesov’s men achieved a second-place finish, winning eight of their ten games, while losing both the contests against their Saturday’s opponents. 2020, though, was a forgettable year for the team as they failed to win six of their eight games, resulting in them staying put in League B of the UEFA Nations League.
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Dendoncker, Carrasco; Hazard, Mertens; Lukaku
Russia: Shunin; Semyenov, Dzhikiya, Diveyev; Karavayev, Zobnin, Ozdoyev, Zhirkov; Miranchuk, Golovin; Dzyuba