Belgium kicked off their preparations for the 2018 World Cup at the weekend, as they took on European champions Portugal. That was their only prestige friendly ahead of the tournament, given that their main task in the group stage will be breaking down defensive sides, that’s not a surprise. Up next for the Red Devils are Egypt and Costa Rica, clear warm up clashes ahead of their first two group stage games; meetings with Panama and Tunisia in Russia. Can Roberto Martinez led them to glory in their final two games before the tournament?
Egypt are also heading to Russia, and this is their final warm up clash ahead of a meeting with Uruguay on June 15th. Their opening game of the tournament sees them take on a side with incredible attacking talent, so Belgium feels like a smart choice as a warm up. Of course, the African side are struggling without Mo Salah, who is pushing to be ready in time for the World Cup. They struggled in their last friendly, which saw them draw 0-0 with Colombia on neutral territory in Italy.
They started their warm up with a 1-1 draw with Kuwait, so it’s fair to say that Egypt aren’t exactly flying right now. Their last five matches have brought no victories, while in 2018 they’ve lost at Portugal, went down 1-0 at home to Greece and then struggled on the eve of the World Cup. With their toughest game of the year so far to come on Wednesday night, we aren’t holding out hope of a turnaround from the Egyptians.
Meanwhile, Belgium have been upping their game too. They may have just drawn with Portugal, but that goalless draw was yet another clean sheet for Martinez. They’ve not let in a goal in their last three matches, while they’ve built up some strong form at home. The Belgians aren’t a side who tend to travel too far, having played five in a row at home, with all of their pre-World Cup friendlies being played in Brussels. While that might not be the greatest idea, it has made them more solid at their own ground.
With Egypt looking short of an attacking threat, we expect the Belgians to build on their defensive form; which has seen them keep five clean sheets in their last six games. The hosts should record another shut out, and their impressive array of attacking stars is likely to make short work of the visitors. We’re backing a win to nil for Belgium, along with a 2-0 victory as our correct score tip.
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It’s over 13 years since these two sides last went head to head, and Egypt won that clash 4-0.
Belgium went with basically their first choice line up at the weekend, but they now have concerns over Vincent Kompany.
Egypt remain concerned about the fitness of Mo Salah, who is in a race to be fit for the World Cup.