Belgium Looking To Qualify Early

Belgium Flag

Belgium v Russia

Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro
Monday June 23 – 2:00 AM (AEST)

Russia Flag

Group H's Belgium  and Russia will only have winning on their minds when they clash on Monday in Rio de Janeiro. 

The Belgians’ campaign in Brazil got off to a shaky start against rank outsiders Algeria when they found themselves down 1-0 after a first half penalty was put away by striker Sofiane Feghouli. The scored stayed that way until midway through the second half when substitute Marouane Fellaini found the net before striker Dries Mertens struck with ten minutes to go. Belgium were undoubtedly the better side over the 90 minutes but struggled to break down the Algerian defence, who in truth were guilty of parking the bus. Romelu Lukaku found it hard to create chances, but he should get plenty against a Russain side that won’t sit back. Eden Hazard was uncharacteristically quiet, but Monday’s match will give the Chelsea midfielder a chance to show what he’s capable of on the world stage.

Russia could only manage a draw in their opening match against Korea, and will be out to go one better on Monday morning. The Russian’s cannot afford to lose this match, because if they do their fate will be out of their hands. A goalkeeping howler allowed the Koreans to score, but apart from that their defence was relatively solid. Zenit St. Petersburg stiker Aleksandr Kerzhakov levelled the scores late in the second half, but Russia couldn’t penetrate the Korean goal again leaving them on one point heading into this clash. As he proved in the opening match, Kerzhakov will be Russia’s danger man. He came off the bench in that match and former England now Russian coach Fabio Capello may choose to select him in the starting line-up.

This match sees two relatively unknown sides clash that could quite easily cause upsets in the second half of the tournament. A win for either of the teams will be a big step towards qualification, but these teams are expected to be the two that qualify from Group H. Belgium should settle better than they did in their opening match against Algeria and prove to possess too much class for the Russians.


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