Belgium vs Greece
All eyes will be on the Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels on Thursday for International Friendly: Belgium vs Greece, as the world’s top ranking team takes on the Euro 2020 absentees.
Belgium fans hope that this will be their year after so many near misses in recent times and, with two games left to prepare, head coach Roberto Martinez has an opportunity to fine-tune his team, while Greece will be missing out again having failed to qualify for the second time running.
The pre-match Belgium vs Greece betting odds back the hosts to pick up a win against the 2004 European Champions, but their visitors have gone eight matches unbeaten in all competitions and will provide the Red Devils with a useful workout.
Martinez eying a 2021 success
Belgium will arrive at Euro 2020 as one of the most fancied sides, though France remains the outright favourite. The Red Devils topped their Euro 2020 qualifying group with a 100 per cent record and a terrifying goal difference of 40 scored and three conceded. And then they went on to top their UEFA Nations League group with five wins from six, including a victory over Euro rival England, before taking seven points from their opening three World Cup 2022 qualifying group, hammering Belarus 8-0 in their last outing in March.
Roberto Martinez has already been linked with the job at Real Madrid, following the departure of Zinedine Zidane from the Santiago Bernabeu. There might be something in that rumour, but it won’t distract him from the task in hand, to help Belgium finally win some silverware three years on from missing out in the semi-finals of Russia 2018. His team was relentless in qualification for Euro 2020 as one of only two teams, alongside Italy, to win ten from ten.
The head coach will rotate his squad in these friendlies and will be keen to protect his prize assets. Striker Romelu Lukaku was a big part of Inter Milan’s Serie A success this season, scoring league 24 goals as they romped to the Scudetto, and he might start the night on the bench, while Kevin de Bruyne, who suffered a facial fracture in the Champions League final, will take a rest, as will Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard.
Greece is looking further ahead
Here at SBOTOP we’re backing a Belgium win, but they may not have it all their own way against a Greece side that is on the right lines under head coach John van ‘t Schip and, unlike their hosts, have no need to protect their players. Greece have certainly been improving under van ‘t Schip, unbeaten in the Nations League with three wins and three draws, and they held Spain to a 1-1 draw in their opening World Cup qualifier; then Greece faced Georgia and picked up another point with a 1-1.
So they won’t be ready to roll over, but Greece will be without some key players for this clash with Belgium, including Kostas Fourtunis and Dimitris Siovas. That could present an opening for Arsenal defender Dinos Mavropanos who has impressed on loan with Stuttgart this season. But without a free-scoring striker in their ranks, the Greeks will find it difficult to break down an experienced Belgian defence.
The head to head Belgium vs Greece results are, rather surprisingly, level, with both sides winning three and drawing three of the nine previous meetings.
But the Red Devils have held the upper hand in recent years winning 2-1 in Greece to qualify for Russia 2018, thanks to goals from Jan Vertonghen and Lukaku, which were punctuated by a leveller from Goncalves Rodrigues.
In fact, Belgium are unbeaten in the last four encounters with Greece, dating back to a 2002 friendly game when the Piratikos edged a 3-2 victory.
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