Saturday, September 23, 2017

Prediction: Greece vs Belgium

Verdict: Belgium to win to Nil

Best Odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: Bet365

Greece and Belgium head into their World Cup qualifying clash at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium on Sunday in contrasting forms but with a shared intention of grabbing what could be crucial points.

Greece

Sitting second in Group H standings, Greece will have Cyprus to thank for the fact they are still in the running for the Russian visa. The Greeks failed to beat Estonia at home as they forced to settle for a goalless draw on Thursday in Piraeus, but the Cyprus’ surprising 3-2 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina made sure things remained unchanged in the standings. The match in Nicosia now means Greece inadvertently stretched their lead in front Bosnia to two points with only three matches left to play in the group. On their own part, Michael Skibbe’s men were frustratingly unable to break down the Estonia defence line in Athens despite triumphing against the same opponent 2-0 in the reverse leg last year. Greece put in a mediocre show against defensively organised Estonians, who fielded a five-man backline against a lone striker Apostolos Vellios. With only few goal-scoring opportunities to boast with Greece failed to build on an energetic performance from Tasos Donis and ended up being force to settle for a stalemate.

Team News

Greece welcomes leaders Belgium without several key men including the new Marseille striker Kostas Mitroglu.

Vassilis Torosodis and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are another two notable absentees.

Belgium

Unlike their Sunday rivals who are coming off from four straight draws, Belgium did rather well to extend their winning run to three consecutive matches. The 2-1 win over Czech Republic and a 2-0 triumph at Estonia were last night followed by a masterclass 9-0 victory over part-timers Gibraltar who felt the full wrath and fury of one of the best teams in the world. PSG man Thomas Meunier was the star of the show with three goals and three assists on the night. An impressive demonstration of power was also followed by Meunier’s flicks, backheels and superior technique moves which did not go unnoticed. Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku also bagged a brace, whereas Dries Mertens, Axel Witsel and Eden Hazard completed the scoring. The total of nine goals and valuable three points got the Red Devils on the brink of grabbing a World Cup spot. Roberto Martinez’s men sit at the summit of Group H with a six-point gap in front of their next rivals.

Team News

Axel Witsel paid a dear price for his recklessness as he got sent off with a straight red card thirteen minutes after he scored.

Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele is likely to replace Witsel in the centre of the park against Greece.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Belgium are unbeaten in last 10 matches in all competitions
  • Greece come off a five-match winless streak
  • Hosts only scored two goals in their last five matches in all competitions
  • Red Devils bagged 13 goals in last three matches
  • Last two meetings between two sides ended in identical 1-1 result

Conclusion

Lacklustre Greece will face a tough challenge in keeping the rampant Belgium at bay on Sunday. Roberto Martinez want to finish what they’ve started and will fly to Athens on a great deal of confidence after their morale-boosting 9-0 win. The star-studded Belgium are seen as firm favourites to claim three points here.

Verdict: Belgium to win to Nil

Best Odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: Bet365

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