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Euro 2016: Belgium Preview, Predictions & Betting Odds

Belgium European Championship Record

Runners-up: 1980
Third place: 1972
Group stage: 1984, 2000
Did not qualify: 1964, 1968, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012
Did not enter: 1960

Total: W4 D2 L6 13:20

Belgium Euro 2016 Qualifying Record

W7 D2 L1 24:5

Belgium Euro 2016 Group Fixtures

13th June @21:00 – Belgium vs Italy (Stade de Lyon, Lyon)

18th June @15:00 – Belgium vs Republic of Ireland (Stade Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux)

22nd June @21:00 – Sweden vs Belgium (Allianz Riviera, Nice)

Road to Euro 2016

After showing a great deal of promise at the 2014 World Cup, Belgium were tipped to have an easy job in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, but that was not exactly the case. The Red Devils were given a tough time by surprise package Wales, failing to win any of the two fixtures against the Dragons (D1 L1). Marc Wilmots’ side also shared spoils with Bosnia-Herzegovina on the road, but excellent results in matches against the weaker sides eventually proved enough for the first place in the group.

The coach refrained from using too many changes during the qualifying campaign, and the interesting thing is that while the likes of Lukaku, Benteke and Origi scored mere two goals between them, the likes of Hazard, De Bruyne, Mertens, Fellaini and Nainggolan contributed with a total of 19 goals. And even though goals from midfield are always welcome, the strikers will have to rediscover their scoring boots as well if Belgium are to enjoy a successful Euro2016.

Style of Play

Some ten years ago, Belgium technical director Michel Sablon decided to overhaul the way the senior national team and all youth sides play, and that has produced excellent results. The Red Devils now usually line up in a flexible 4-3-3 formation, with four centre-backs forming the back line for the lack of better options, and the interesting thing is that Tottenham Hotspur centre-back pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen operates at the flanks in the national team.

The impressive midfield trio, where Witsel, Nainggolan, Fellaini, Dembele and De Bruyne are vying for starting positions, is very important in both attacking and defensive phase. They are able to cover a lot of ground, constantly drifting out of positions to offer their teammates extra solutions, and each of them can also be a danger in the final third, either by providing killer passes or by shooting from distance.

Even if natural full-backs are in short supply, the likes of Alderweireld and Vertonghen have adapted to wing positions and they help Belgium stretch the play, together with two wingers, who can operate as traditional wide players and also cut inside to create additional problems for opposition defenders.

The Red Devils prefer playing attractive, attacking, high tempo football and spending a lot of time in the opposition half, but that makes them susceptible to counter-attacks, especially since speed is not exactly the main feature of their back four, and the wingers at times fail to track back. The Red Devils also have problems when trying to break defence-minded sides, and that is something the likes of Italy, Republic of Ireland and Sweden will all be looking to exploit.

It has to be noted that Belgium can be very dangerous at set pieces, as their entire back line is tall, strong and powerful, while one Marouane Fellaini is likely to prove an additional headache for opposition defenders. While Christian Benteke has been out of form of late, Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi head to France in good spirits, while the courtesy of having Fellaini operate as an additional striker when the Red Devils are behind is another plus.

Strong Points

  • Very balanced team
  • Strong midfield area
  • Great strength in depth
  • Very dangerous at set pieces
  • Individual quality
  • Excellent team spirit
  • Playing together for quite some time now

Weak Spots

  • No natural full-backs
  • Susceptible to counter-attacks
  • May struggle against defence-minded sides

Belgium Euro 2016 Starting Line-Up

Euro 2016: Belgium Preview, Predictions & Betting Odds
Missing: Vincent Kompany (injury), Steven Defour (injury), Nicolas Lombaerts (injury), Dedryck Boyata (injury), Bjorn Engels (injury)

Prediction

Belgium have been placed in a seemingly tough group, but with this Italy side not exactly capable of big things and Republic of Ireland also lacking quality to perform at this level, we expect the Red Devils to easily qualify from Group E and win the first place in front of Sweden. Marc Wilmots has some of world’s best footballers at his disposal who always play to their potential in the national team and the excellent team spirit is another major plus.

Belgium are quite strong in all areas and have excellent replacements for the starting XI, which can prove a major advantage at these kinds of competitions. With their key men at their peak and already possessing plenty of experience at the biggest stage, we expect the Red Devils to reach the final stages of the competition and possibly even mount a serious title challenge. Therefore, backing them to reach the last eight sounds like the tight thing to do.

IST Tip: Belgium to reach quarter-finals
Odds: 2.00 (1/1) @Betfair

Interesting Markets

*Belgium to win Group E is 2.25 (5/4) @Betfair
*Belgium/Sweden Group E straight forecast is 9.00 (8/1) @Betfair
*Belgium to win Euro 2016 is 13.00 (12/1) @Coral
*Belgium to reach semi-finals is 3.75 (11/4) @Betfair
*Lukaku to be Euro 2016 top goalscorer is 19.00 (18/1) @Winner
*Belgium to be Euro 2016 highest scoring team is 10.00 (9/1) @BetVictor

Belgium Euro 2016 squad:

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Jean-Francois Gillet (Mechelen);

Defenders: Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Jason Denayer (Manchester City), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Christian Kabasele (Genk), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jordan Lukaku (Oostende), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugge);

Midfielders: Axel Witsel (Zenit), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Moussa Dembele (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Radja Nainggolan (Roma), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (Atletico Madrid);

Forwards: Christian Benteke (Liverpool), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Michy Batshuayi (Marseille), Divock Origi (Liverpool).

Last updated: 31st May 2016

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3 comments

  1. Gunter Vandenberghe

    swap chadli with carrasco and u are spot on

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