John Chapman’s Belgium v Russia preview: Lukaku and co. to start on a high
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Belgium throughout Euro 2020
The Belgian camp is confident following the recent performance against Croatia.
That game showed the squad is ready for the challenge and – in Romelu Lukaku’s words – it’s in a stronger position than it was at the last World Cup. Belgium and Russia met twice in the Euro 2020 qualifying round, with Roberto Martinez’s men winning both games (7-2 on aggregate).
Lukaku is the focal point of the attack, a leader and a player that gives 100%. In Kevin De Bruyne’s absence, Youri Tielemans is the team’s creative force. Both were impressive against Croatia.
Belgium’s strength lies in attack, and they will take the game to Russia. Even though senior players will be missing, they’ll want to put down a marker for the tournament.
Belgium generally play 3-4-3, with one defensive wingback and one more forward-thinking. Against Croatia, Martinez had the team switching to a back four when they lost possession; wingback Timothy Castagne played a vital role.
De Bruyne and Axel Witsel are not fit for action. Eden Hazard will not start the game, but even so, I expect Belgium to win comfortably, 3-1.