Preview: Belgium vs Czech Republic – prediction, team news, lineups, where to watch
Fresh off a gripping seven-goal encounter with Estonia, Belgium will resume qualifying for the 2022 World Cup on Sunday when they host the Czech Republic at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
Roberto Martínez’s men humiliated Estonia 5-2 in their midweek battle, while the Czechs were only able to achieve a one-goal victory over Belarus.
Estonia striker Mattias Kait surprised the continent when he broke the deadlock against Belgium with just two minutes played, but the floodgates would open thereafter as Hans Vanaken and Romelu Lukaku gave the Red Devils a 2-1 lead before the match. Thursday break.
Lukaku’s second of the game preceded goals from Axel Witsel and substitute Thomas Foket in the second 45 minutes, and as Estonia’s Erik Sorga came off the bench to score a memorable goal, the world’s highest-ranked nation finally prevailed comfortably.
After another disappointing performance at a major tournament, Belgium made an immediate declaration of intent and have maintained their three-point lead at the top of the standings in World Cup qualifying Group E after previous victories over Wales and Belarus.
No UEFA team can exceed the 17 goals Belgium have scored in qualifying, but conceding two goals to Estonia, a team ranked 109 places below them in the FIFA World Ranking, may worry Martinez a bit.
However, Belgium’s staggering home record is there for all to see ahead of Sunday’s game as the Red Devils have embarked on a 29-game unbeaten streak on the familiar territory since a 2-0 loss in a friendly against Spain in September 2016, although its visitors are daring to dream.
After drawing attention at Euro 2020 en route to the quarter-finals, the Czech Republic is now looking to reserve its place in the World Cup Finals for the first time since 2006, and there is cautious optimism that the team from Jaroslav Silhavy can meet the goals of the nation. Expectations.
Like Belgium, the Czechs also conceded two goals against Estonia but came away with a 6-2 win in March, while a 1-1 draw with the Red Devils and a 1-0 loss to Wales represented a mixed bag. of results before his exploits in the Eurocopa.
Silhavy’s team may have hoped for a greater margin of victory over Belarus on Thursday night, but Antonin Barak’s goal in the 34th minute was all that separated the two teams on the night as the Czech Republic cemented their second place in the group.
However, Wales are just four points behind with two games in hand, so the importance of a flawless qualifying campaign as of now cannot be understated, but four of their last five away matches in all the tournaments ended in defeat.
Lukaku and Lukas Provod scored when the two teams drew 1-1 in March, and Belgium has only managed to prevail in one of their last four meetings with the Czech Republic: a 2-1 win in a friendly in June 2017 thanks to the goals from Michy Batshuayi and Marouane Fellaini.
Belgium possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Boyata; Castagne, Witsel, Vanaken, Carrasco; Trossard, Lukaku, Hazard
Czech Republic possible starting lineup:
Vaclik; Coufal, Celustka, Kudela, Mateju; Kral, Soucek; Jankto, Barak, Hlozek; Vydra
We say: Belgium 2-1 Czech Republic
The Czech Republic commands the respect of the world’s highest-ranked nation, even if its narrow success over Belarus left much to be desired.
The hosts can’t expect another five or eight goals in qualifying this weekend, but Martinez’s team should still get over the line and extend their lead at the top.