Belgium vs Panama Preview

Source: The Coverage

With the World Cup well under way, match day four brought us some important fixtures and many entertaining ones. We have already seen Mexico defeat champions, Germany 1-0 earlier today thanks to Lozano’s goal in the first half.

On Monday, 18th June, Belgium take on Panama in the Group G opening fixture. The Belgium Red Devils take on Panama, who defied all odds and qualified for the World Cup. The match is going to be held in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi. Belgium are ranked 3rd in the FIFA rankings and 8th in the ELO. Panama are ranked 55th by FIFA and 48th in ELO. It is going to be a relatively easy and a walk in the park for Belgium but, based on the recent results its better that they are a little more cautious. Belgium are expected to start their strongest 11 in their World Cup opener and will be looking to seal an easy win.

Predicted Line up:

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois

Roberto Martinez is expected to start his best goalkeeper Courtois. Courtois is one of the best goalkeepers on the planet and well trusted in goal. He is also a contender for the golden glove. Its highly unlikely that Martinez would risk starting Simon Mignolet in the opener that too against a rather weak opposition.

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (CB), Dedryck Boyata (CB), Jan Vertonghen (CB)

Belgium are expected to start Alderweireld, Boyata and Vertonghen as the centre back trio which they traditionally do. Veteran defender Kompany is out injured and is expected to return against England. So is Thomas Vermaelen. That leaves them with their only fit centre back in Celtic defender, Boyata.

Midfielders: Thomas Meunier (RWB), Kevin De Bruyne (CM), Mousa Dembele (CM), Yannick Carrasco (LWB)

Meunier is a great crosser of the ball and is gifted with decent pace and technical ability. He would also help in the defensive duties for the squad. Carrasco on the other hand is more of a wild card. He isn’t much of a defensive asset as he more of an attacking midfielder. He will be a great asset in attack and will be more concentrative thanks to Meunier who will control the defensive duties. In central midfield, Belgium should start with a mix of defense and attack. Dembele has had a stellar season with Spurs and is known to control the game on his own by his link-up play. De Bruyne is currently one of the best midfielders in the world and was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. He has racked up 16 assists and 8 goals this season.

Source: The Sun

Attacking Midfielders: Dries Mertens (LAM), Eden Hazard (RAM)

Belgium start with two attacking midfielders in Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens. Attack is one of the best strengths of Belgium and with players like De Bruyne who joins the attack, it is going to be very difficult for Panama to handle it. Mertens 31, is still lightning quick and has scored 18 goals and 6 assists for Napoli. Hazard on the other hand, hasn’t had that great a season with Chelsea and definitely has a point to prove with all the transfer rumours going around. He is also the captain of the team.

Attack: Romelu Lukaku

Manchester United’s Lukaku is Belgium’s top scorer and also a candidate for the golden boot. He is also their first-choice striker and with the support and crosses he gets, he can put many behind the back of the net. He is also physically strong.

Score Prediction: 4-0

It would be a walk in the park for Belgium and I am expecting an easy win and complete demolition of the Central American nation.


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