Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Prediction: Switzerland vs Belgium

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: William Hill

Stade de Geneve will host a high-profile Euro 2016 warm-up game between Switzerland and Belgium, the two sides that are expected to reach the final stages of the major competition in France. And seeing as how they both failed to impress in March friendlies, chances are they will be very motivated to return to winning ways on Saturday.

Switzerland

Switzerland have been on a major uptrend over the last few years and many believe this to be the Golden Generation of the national team. The Rossocrociati showed a great deal of promise at the 2014 World Cup finals, narrowly losing to Argentina in the quarter-final and they have big ambitions ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament. Vladimir Petkovic’s men did not exactly impress during the qualifying campaign, but they seem prepared to give their best in France, although the team appear to be struggling for form at the moment. While they defeated neighbours Austria on the road, Switzerland suffered defeats to Slovakia, Republic of Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina since securing their place at the Euro 2016 finals and they will be eager to show some improvement against Belgium. Coach Vladimir Petkovic has named a provisional Euro 2016 list that does not include Gokhan Inler, Timm Klose, Valentin Stocker or Pajtim Kasami, while youngsters Denis Zakaria, Shani Tarashaj and Nico Elvedi are all in contention.

Team News

While striker Josip Drmic missed out on the squad through injury, starting defender Fabian Schar is unavailable for the Belgium game as he battles an ankle problem.

Forward Breel Embolo is struggling with a knee injury, meaning he may not be risked at the Stade de Geneve this Saturday.

Belgium

Belgium are another side that have shown a great deal of potential over the last few years and many believe this is their chance to finally mount a serious title challenge. The Red Devils boast a number of world-class players in the squad and despite being placed in a very strong group at the Euro 2016 finals, they are tipped to reach the final stages. Marc Wilmots’ side did experience some problems in the qualifying campaign, but they eventually won the first place in the group and also went on to beat Italy in the first warm-up game. The Red Devils were then beaten by Portugal in March and they are now set to face Switzerland, Finland and Norway in the build up to the Euro 2016 finals. Head coach Marc Wilmots has been given a real headache as captain Vincent Kompany was ruled out of the tournament through injury, while a number of players are currently battling various injuries. Meanwhile, Nacer Chadli, Kevin Mirallas and Adnan Januzaj didn’t even make the provisional squad, but the good news is that Eden Hazard has finally rediscovered his form after going through a very difficult patch.

Team News

Vincent Kompany and Bjorn Engels will not be on the plane to France due to injury, whereas Nicolas Lombaerts and Thomas Meunier will miss the Switzerland game as well.

Dedryck Boyata may not be risked despite recovering from a hamstring injury, while Radja Nainggolan is also rated doubtful.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Over 2.5 goals were scored in five of their six meetings
  • Both teams scored in four of those games
  • Switzerland have two wins and one draw vs Belgium on home soil
  • The Rossocrociati lost three of last four fixtures
  • Belgium won four of last six on the road

Conclusion

Neither Vladimir Petkovic nor Marc Wilmots will be able to field their strongest sides due to injury problems, but their charges can be expected to adopt a positive approach nonetheless. We expected to see a real spectacle of football at Stade de Geneve and quite a few goals scored.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: William Hill

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