Belgium take on the Russians while knowing that a win can guarantee their place in the competition’s next round.
Where to watch –
The match kicks off at 12 PM EST/9 AM PST, and this is where viewers in USA can watch the game –
Felix Brych (Germany)
Starting lineups –
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, V Buyten, Kompany, Vermaelen, Witsel, Fellaini, De Bruyne, Mertens, Hazard, Lukaku.
Russia: Akinfeev, Kozlov, Ignashevich, Kanunnikov, Glushakov, Kokorin, Berezutskiy, Shatov, Samedov, Fayzulin, Kombarov
The Belgians, widely considered as the dark horses of this World Cup, got the 3 points in their 2-1 comeback win against Algeria. They currently hold a 2 point gap over their nearest rivals and a win today will guarantee them a place in the top 2. They might have to deal with the absence of captain Vincent Kompany though, who could miss the game due to injury.
The Russians were held to a 1-1 draw against Korea Republic, and sit level on points with them. They will attempting to leapfrog Belgium to the summit of the table with a win tonight.
Belgium enjoyed 2/3rds of possession against Algeria and had over 500 passes throughout the game. They will be looking to dominate proceedings today against the Russians as well. It might not be that easy however, as Russia had a solid defensive performance against Korea. They had a higher number of blocks and clearances than Belgium, so the game can more or less come down to the attacking threat of Belgium’s against the defensive might of Russia.
Men to watch out for –
Apart from the obvious threat of Eden Hazard, Belgium benefited from Marouane Fellaini’s introduction too. The Manchester United midfielder came on in the 2nd half and immediately made his mark as his header got Belgium on terms against Algeria and which sparked their comeback. He will hoping to have a similar impact today as well.
As for Russia, Kerzhakov too proved to be a super sub as he came on to restore parity for Russia, who were trailing against Korea before his introduction.
I expect the likes of Hazard, Lukaku and de Bruyne to go all out against Russia, and it could be a case of Belgium’s attack against the Russian defense; but I expect Belgium to come away with the 3 points.