Prediction: Belgium to win 2-0
Scotland will be aiming to get their task for Euro 2020 qualification back on track as they face Belgium at Hampden Park on Monday evening.
Their hopes of qualification were given a huge blow on Friday evening as they battled with Russia, only to fall to a 2-1 defeat on home soil. Meanwhile, Belgium look in excellent health to reach the tournament having notched five victories out of a maximum five throughout the qualifying campaign so far.
Despite Steve Clarke’s troops having begun their Euro 2020 qualifying in relatively positive form with two victories out of their opening three games, the same problems are being to rear their heads following consecutive defeats. Their most recent, a 2-1 home reverse at the hands of Russia, now has the team fourth in the table on only six points from five games. Their main struggle so far has been their lack of goal threat. The team have only managed to score five goals in as many games so far – only rock bottom San Marino have netted fewer in Group I. As a matter of fact, they have not managed to score more than two goals in a match since a 3-2 win against Israel in November 2018. Keeping clean sheets has also been a problem for Scotland. Their only shutouts within the past 12 months have come against European minnows Albania and San Marino. It looks to be a huge task then to keep out a hugely gifted Red Devils side.
Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn scored his first international goal against Russia so will hope to take his good form into the clash with Belgium. They also have plenty of Premier League talent to call on in the forms of Ryan Fraser, Andrew Robertson and Scott McTominay. Clarke has a fully-fit squad to choose from for the match in a boost to the Tartan Army’s qualification hopes.
As most predicted before the beginning of the current qualification campaign, Belgium are starting to blow the majority away in Group I. Roberto Martinez’s troops have a so-far perfect record and added to that before the weekend with a straight-forward 4-0 success against San Marino. That victory puts them three points clear of nearest challengers Russia at the top of the table. Whilst Belgium’s attack is arguably one of their more standout features, one aspect that has possibly gone somewhat unappreciated is their defensive solidarity. The Red Devils have only conceded one goal in qualification so far, claiming clean sheets in each of their last four matches. They are only one of four sides in the whole of qualification to have only had their defence beaten on one occasion alongside England, Ukraine and Portugal. They now have the chance to notch five clean sheets in all competitions for the first time ever.
It could be suggested that Belgium possess one of the most gifted squads in football with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne the star name in a long list of unbelievable talents under the tutelage of Martinez. However, the Spaniard will be missing Real Madrid superstar Eden Hazard as he continues his recovery from a thigh injury.
Key Facts To Consider
- Belgium have the far better all-time record between the two teams (W12, D3, L4)
- The Red Devils won the last clash 3-0 between the two sides in June 2019
- Scotland have not scored against Belgium since a 2-2 draw in 2001
- Romelu Lukaku has scored three goals in his last two games against Scotland
- Belgium have not lost to Scotland since 1987
Considering the history between the two sides and the sheer difference in quality between each team at the current time, there seems to be only one way that this game will go and that is a comfortable victory for the visitors. It will be slightly harder for Belgium considering they are on foreign soil but there is no reason to suggest this could not be another straight-forward win.
Prediction: Belgium to win 2-0
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