World Cup 2014
Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 17:00 GMT (13:00 Local time)
Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
Belgium vs Russia Preview
Belgium and Russia were considered as favorites in the Group H before the start of the World Cup. But the first round showed that there is no a real favorite for the second place. Belgium has certainly the best quality team in this group, while Russia is sketchy, just as we used to watch them. Belgium and Russia were considered as favorites in the Group H before the start of the World Cup. But the first round showed that there is no a real favorite for the second place. Belgium has certainly the best quality team in this group, while Russia is sketchy, just as we used to watch them. However, as the Belgians were not brilliant in the first round as well, Russia could make a surprise in the second round, and so deserve to be called the favorites in the group.
Belgium has achieved a victory in the first match in Group F, but their game was away from the game one of the candidates for the throne of the world, among which Belgium had been enrolled by sport media and many fans of the sport. But, as it has been said many times, characteristic of great teams are victories even when playing poorly. Maybe Algerian leading goal from a penalty disrupted their playing system, but it is not characteristic of the great teams. Therefore, this young and talented generation of Belgian players must confirm their talent in the next match at this tournament, not only because of their placement in the next round of the competition, but also because of self-affirmation of quality that deserves to be at the top of world football. Probably coach Wilmots has realized that he contributed to a poor first half against Algeria with strange starting line-up, which was corrected by introducing Felaini and Mertens in the second half. Therefore, I expect a different composition at the beginning of the match against Russia.
Probable line-up of Belgium (4-2-3-1): Courtois – Alderweireld, van Buyten, Kompany Vermaelen – Witsel, Fellaini – Mertens, de Bruyne, E .Hazard – Lukaku
Russia is a team probably the most difficult for understanding. They have excellent players as individuals, but they does not work well as a team. It is not the fault of an experienced and excellent coach Fabio Capello, but it is a feature of the national teams in almost every world championship. However, some players could have play much better, Samedov above all, while some entered the game in the second half and raised the energy level of the team, such as Kerzhakov and Denisov. However, there are hints that Capello will leave Kerzakov on the bench in the second game as well, so it remains to be seen whether Kokorin really deserves such a confidence of the coach.
Probable line-up of Russia (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev – Eschenko, Ignashevich, V. Berezutski, Kombarov – Denisov, Fayzulin – Samedov, Dzagoev, Zhirkov – Kokorin
Belgium vs Russia Match Prediction
Regardless of the great offensive potential of Belgium, I expect a defensive approach of both teams and a moderate number of goals in this match. 2 or 3 Goals.