Rugby fanatic - but so much more
Rugby fanatic - but so much more
It’s the first international break of the season and football fans are in for some fascinating contests – none more so than England vs Belgium in the Nations League. The two sides are favourites to win League A Group 2 and progress into the finals, so both will be desperate to get a good result. On the surface, they look like two evenly balanced squads, so you may be struggling to work out your bet for Sunday’s game. Luckily, Betting.co.uk’s team of football tipsters are here to help you out. Read on, to find out how we see this game going.
For the second time in as many games, the England squad has been rocked by a coronavirus enforced selection headache. Chelsea pair Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell, as well as Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho have all angered Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate by attending a party that was a clear breach of social distancing protocol, a matter of days before joining up with the squad. As penance for their actions, all three are unlikely to feature on Sunday. Another possible selection headache is in goal. Everton stopper continues to look shaky and Burnley’s Nick Pope is surely due a stint between the sticks. There are similar questions hanging over Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire.
According to the FIFA rankings, Belgium are the best international side on the planet – even better than World Cup holders France and Copa America winners Brazil. The Red Devils squad is packed full of talent from front to back. In goal, they boast Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois, who is one of the most reliable stoppers in world football. There’s also plenty of players who ply their trade in England among their ranks. 2019/2021 PFA Player of the Year Kevin de Bruyne is the pick of the bunch and with him pulling the strings, Roberto Martinez’s side are likely to dominate possession.
Overall, the two sides have only ever met on 23 occasions with England dominating proceedings. The Three Lions have won 15 of the contests to Belgium’s four, while four of the games have ended in a draw.
Some standout ties from the past include a 4-4 draw in the 1954 World Cup which was one of the most dramatic games in the competition’s history. Of course, there was also the two nations historic meeting in Italia 90’, which England edged 1-0 on their way to the semi finals.
However, England’s historical dominance does not tell the whole story. In more recent times, Belgium has really developed as a footballing nation, thanks to a Golden Generation of players. This has been reflected in the results as well. In the last five meetings between the two sides, the Red Devils have won three.
This includes a brilliant double over Southgate’s side during the 2018 World Cup. First, an Adnan Januzaj strike gave Belgium a 1-0 win in a dead rubber group game. The pair then met again in the third place playoff game with the Red Devils again coming out on top, this time beating England 2-0.
Because of this, recent results seem to suggest that Belgium should be considered favourites for Sunday’s clash.
No less than three players are in line for a maiden England cap on Sunday with Bukayo Saka, Harvey Barnes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Although Saka and Barnes have showcased some impressive form for Arsenal and Leciester respectively, it is Calvert-Lewin who has the best chance of taking to the field against Belgium.
The 23-year-old has made an electric start to the season, scoring six goals in his opening four Premier League games, as well as grabbing a hat trick in the EFL Cup. Capable of leading the line on his own, Calvert-Lewin should fit into England’s 4-3-3 very nicely indeed. His chances of playing are also greatly increased by the fact that current England number nine Harry Kane has been on the end of an incredible congested fixture list of late and may be in need of a rest.
888Sport are currently offering Calvert-Lewin to score anytime at a generous 11/5. With the striker in the form of his life, we think this is a good option to add to your betting slip.
Although Belgium may have enjoyed an advantage in recent games, England are a strong side as well. Southgate’s men do not let many goals in and are also blessed with an array of attacking talent that can rival anything the Red Devils have to offer. Because of this, we expect things to be close and we are backing a draw with both teams scoring. Our tip is being offered a 5.14/1 by Unibet.