One of the standout fixtures from October’s international schedule will take place at Wembley, as the two losing semi-finalists from the 2018 World Cup meet for a League A Group 2 encounter in the UEFA Nations League. Andrew Delaney previews this tough clash for England as they face the number one team Belgium.
Who is playing?
England vs Belgium
What competition are England and Belgium playing in?
UEFA Nations League
When is England vs Belgium?
17:00 GMT, Sunday 11th October 2020
What stadium is hosting England vs Belgium?
Wembley Stadium, London, England
What channel is England vs Belgium on?
Sky Sports Main Event
England vs Belgium Summary
Two nations who strangely met twice at the same World Cup, face off once more, two years on, as England play host to a Belgian side which have since catapulted themselves to the number one spot in the FIFA World Rankings. On both occasions in Russia, Belgium came out on top, despite both games being dead rubbers.
They met in the third and final group game after both sides had already qualified, and with both making wholesale changes, Adnan Januzaj scored the only goal as Belgium won 1-0. They then met once more in the Third-Place Playoff as losing semi-finalists, with Belgium winning again, this time by two goals to nil.
England and Belgium are currently the top two favourites for next summer’s rearranged European Championship, with Mark Jarvis, you can back England at 9/2 while Belgium are priced at 5/1*.
England Team News and Form
Gareth Southgate made wholesale changes to his starting lineup for the friendly against Wales on Thursday, with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jack Grealish and Nick Pope given a chance to showcase their skills for the national side. The Three Lions ran out convincing 3-0 winners over their neighbours, a notable improvement on their September internationals in which they snatched three points late on in Reykjavik against Iceland and drew 0-0 in Denmark, two performances which drew heavy criticism, because of England’s inability to penetrate their opponents defensive lines.
However, as attention turns back to competitive fixtures, expect to see England’s big hitters back in the fold, such as Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho, as the latter has been allowed to meet up with the squad after breaching safety protocols last week. Find the full England squad here.
Belgium Team News and Form:
Belgium, like England, made an array of changes to their starting eleven for the friendly over Ivory Coast on Thursday, giving debuts to Alexis Saelemaekers, Joris Kayembe and Hendrik van Crombrugge in a 1-1 draw. None of their senior, regular internationals started the game, but when they were used in last month’s fixtures, they were on form as Belgium won two from two to start their Nations League campaign perfectly. A 2-0 win in Denmark was followed up by a 5-1 win on home turf over Iceland as they sit top of Group 2 going into this tricky encounter with England, a country they have never won in.
After resting all of his key players against Ivory Coast, expect Roberto Martinez to select his strongest team for the trip to Wembley with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne fit for selection. Real Madrid pair Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard have both pulled out injured and Dries Mertens has been denied the chance to leave Naples after a bout of Covid cases among the Napoli squad. The full Belgium squad is available here.
England Last 5 Matches:
- Wales (H) 3-0 Friendly win
- Denmark (A) 0-0 Nations League draw
- Iceland (A) 0-1 Nations League win
- Kosovo (A) 0-4 Euro Qualifier win
- Montenegro (H) 7-0 Euro Qualifier win
Belgium Last 5 Matches:
- Ivory Coast (H) 1-1 Friendly draw
- Iceland (H) 5-1 Nations League win
- Denmark (A) 0-2 Nations League win
- Cyprus (H) 6-1 Euro Qualifier win
- Russia (A) 1-4 Euro Qualifier win
|14th July 2018||BEL 2-0 ENG||World Cup Third Place|
|28th June 2018||ENG 0-1 BEL||World Cup Group Stage|
|2nd June 2012||ENG 1-0 BEL||Friendly|
|9th October 1999||ENG 2-1 BEL||Friendly|
|26th June 1990||ENG 1-0 BEL||World Cup Last 16|
England Top Scorers:
Harry Kane (32 International Goals) – Already sixth in the all-time England top scorer list after just 47 caps, Kane bags a goal in an England shirt on average every 114 minutes and despite the form of Calvert-Lewin and Ings, it will take a lot to dislodge the captain from his starting role up front.
Raheem Sterling (13 International Goals) – The Manchester City wide man has got a lot of competition for his place in the starting eleven but his winning penalty away to Iceland will ensure he remains the main man alongside Kane for the near future.
Belgium Top Scorers:
Romelu Lukaku (52 International Goals) – Inter Milan’s number nine has an even better record than Kane, notching every 99 minutes for Belgium, he is the nation’s all time top scorer by some distance, 20 goals ahead of Eden Hazard at the age of just 27.
Kevin De Bruyne (19 International Goals) – More well-known for his playmaking exploits, De Bruyne is still the second highest scorer in the squad thanks to his set-play prowess and his eye for goal from distance.
- England have not conceded a goal since losing 2-1 in the Czech Republic, exactly 365 days previous to this game.
- Three players in the Belgium squad have over 100 caps, compared to none in the England side.
- Ten players selected by Belgium apply their trade in the English Premier League.
- The first ever competitive meeting between the two ended in a 4-4 draw at the 1954 World Cup.
Andrew’s Betting Tips
Roberto Martinez has turned Belgium into absolute goal machines since taking over after Euro 2016. The Spaniard has taken charge of 45 Belgium games as manager and has seen his side score over 1.5 goals in 37 of them. After Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast, with a weakened side, the only other time they have failed to do so since the 2018 World Cup was in a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands. Get Belgium to score Over 1.5 goals at 7/5* with Mark Jarvis.
Sitting as the top ranked side in the world, you would expect Belgium to be the team to beat. England failed to do so on both occasions during the 2018 World Cup recently and after both playing the same opposition last month, Iceland and Denmark, Belgium looked much more imperious in an attacking sense compared to England. Also, in the most recent qualifying campaign for Euro 2021, Belgium won all ten matches, scoring 40 goals. Back an in-form Belgium side to win at Wembley at 8/5* with Mark Jarvis.
Romelu Lukaku is a man in form. He had the best debut scoring season of any Inter Milan player since Ronaldo in 1997 last season, and his competitive record for his country is remarkable too. Seven goals in just five Euro qualifiers, four goals in his two Nations League appearances in 2018 and 11 goals in eight 2018 World Cup qualifiers is a record which speaks for itself, and can only be matched by the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo at international level. Lukaku to score anytime is 17/10* with Mark Jarvis.
*Odds as of time of writing (Friday 9th October 2020) and subject to change
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