James Cormack (@jamesxyyx) previews Belgium v Scotland and provides us with his best bets for Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifier by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
- 2019 Profit & Loss: +5.79pts
Belgium v Scotland Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 11/06/19
- Time: 19:45
- Venue: King Baudouin Stadium
- Channel: Sky Sports
World Cup semi-finalists, Belgium, will be looking to maintain their 100% record in Euro 2020 qualifying as they take on Scotland, a nation looking to qualify for only their third European Championships.
Oliver Burke’s 89th minute winner against Cyprus on Saturday ensured that Steve Clark’s tenure as Scotland boss got off to a winning start and it was a vital win in keeping them in touch with the top two in group I at the moment. Burke’s winner put them level on points with Russia in second, but, last year’s World Cup hosts’ massively superior goal difference gives them the advantage with 7 games still to be played.
After a poor 2018 and what has been a rocky 2019, so far, for Scotland, Scottish fans will be hoping for more success under Steve Clark, a man who guided Kilmarnock to third in the Scottish Premiership and the club’s first-ever Europa League berth. The squad Clark’s working with is by no means a terrible one; Champions League winner, Andy Robertson, captains the side whilst John McGinn and Kenny McLean are midfield players who enjoyed fantastic seasons in the Championship last season and will play their football in the Premier League in 2019/20. Adding this with Ryan Fraser going forward, a man with the second highest number of assists in the PL in 18/19 as well as James Forrest and Callum McGregor, who have been valuable assets to Celtic over the past few years, then I think you’ve got a good core set of players.
Tuesday’s qualifier will be a real test for Clark and his Scottish side. Since Belgium’s semi-final defeat to France, the Red Devils have won 8 out of 9 and have lost just once on home soil since 2014. The talent amongst this squad is unquestionable, what has raised questions has been whether this is a cohesive unit or a bunch of talented individuals. I think last summer’s performance proved many wrong and this ‘golden generation’ of Belgian players can certainly play together and perform on the biggest stage.
As I’ve mentioned, Roberto Martinez’s squad has world-class talent from goalkeeper, in the form of Thibaut Courtois, all the way through to striker, with Romelu Lukaku, who usually displays his best form whilst on international duty. In-between that you have the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, two of the PL’s finest centre-halves of the past five years, Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Thorgan Hazard, Dries Mertens and, of course, Eden Hazard, arguably the best PL player of this decade and has just secured a move to Real Madrid for a monster fee.
Three wins from three has put Belgium in the driving seat in group I. They’ll be one of the favourites for Euro 2020 glory and I’m sure all of the squad will be hungry for success after coming so close in 2018 and after what happened at Euro 2016, where they were embarrassed by Wales in the quarter-finals.
I think this is a game that Scotland can afford to lose, their real crunch fixtures in group I are ahead of them; two against Russia, away to Cyprus and home to Kazakhstan. These are the games I look at for determining Scotland’s place in the group come November.
Both sides come into this one with a relatively clean bill of health coming into Tuesday’s qualifier.
Champions League finalists; Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen both started in Saturday’s win over Kazakhstan along with the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Dries Mertens.
Andy Robertson, who also played 90 minutes on June 1st, scored the first in Scotland’s 2-1 win over Cyprus. I expect Robertson, Alderweireld and Vertonghen to play another 90 minutes on Tuesday night.
Potential Belgium Starting XI: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen, Castagne, Dendoncker, Tielemens, T. Hazard, Mertens, E. Hazard, Lukaku
Potential Scotland Starting XI: Marshall, O’Donnell, Mulgrew, McKenna, Robertson, McGinn, McLean, McGregor, Forrest, Burke, Fraser
Head To Head
- All-time: Belgium-11, Draw-3, Scotland-4.
- Scotland haven’t won in Belgium since a 5-0 victory in 1951, losing all 7 games in Belgium since then.
Key Stats & Facts
- Ryan Fraser’s tally of 14 PL assists last season was only beaten by Belgium’s Eden Hazard, who registered 15.
- Belgium’s last defeat on home soil came in a 1-0 defeat to Spain in a friendly in 2016.
- Romelu Lukaku is Belgium’s leading goal-scorer with 45, Eden Hazard has the chance to move into outright second with a goal on Tuesday.
- Belgium have scored two or more in 8 of their last 9 games and also hit two or more in four of their World Cup games.
- Belgium 1/7
- Draw 8/1
- Scotland 25/1
Belgium are massive favourites for this one and rightly so. I love what Roberto Martinez has done with this vastly talented Belgian squad, deploying a 3-4-2-1 on many occasions which gives players like Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens so much freedom, operating in attacking midfield roles. They’re also a great danger from the flanks with Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne and ex-Monchengladbach’s Thorgan Hazard playing as wide midfielders, they also have the responsibility of helping out Alderweireld, Kompany and Vertonghen in defence. Mertens and E.Hazard often drift into the wider channels where they’re such a threat and the technical ability of Belgium’s midfield that also includes Kevin De Bruyne, is a big reason for why Romelu Lukaku has 45 international goals.
Overall, this free-flowing, prolific Belgium side should be way too much for this Scotland team that I think will improve massively with Steve Clark in charge. However, with Belgium scoring at least two or more in 13 of their last 16, I’m backing them to win with a -2.5 handicap, a bet I’m confident in when you look at Belgium’s imperious home record.
Another bet that looks good value is Timothy Castagne to score at 6/1. The versatile Atalanta midfielder has played from the right in Martinez’s system instead of left midfield, where he has played for Atalanta. Castagne got his first international goal with a header against Kazakhstan on Saturday and I’m backing him to get his second on Tuesday at what seems like very good value. There will be plenty of opportunities for Castagne to get on the end of a cross at the back post, with Mertens and both Eden and Thorgan all being strong crossers of the ball and like to operate from the left.