Preview: Estonia vs Belgium – prediction, team news, lineups
Top meets bottom in Group E qualification for the 2022 World Cup on Thursday night, when Estonia hosts leaders Belgium at the Lillekula Stadium in Tallinn.
The hosts are rooted at the bottom of the pile after losing their first two games, while Belgium has taken seven points out of a possible nine so far.
Still awaiting its first appearance in a major international tournament, Estonia entered this year’s Baltic Cup looking to end a 19-game winless streak dating back to a 1-0 friendly win over Gibraltar in March 2019.
The three-team tournament only included Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania following a postponement imposed by the coronavirus, and Thomas Haberli’s team managed to claim two wins out of two in the competition to lift the trophy for the first time in 83 years.
While their efforts in the Baltic may have ended with glory, Estonia has had very little to cheer on elsewhere, as they have not won a competitive match elsewhere since defeating Greece 1-0 in a League clash of Nations in 2018 and he’s off to a dismal start at the World Cup. Qualifying cup.
After being beaten 6-2 by the Czech Republic on the opening day, where Tomas Soucek scored a hat-trick, Estonia was sunk 4-2 by Belarus and is the only team in Group E not yet to score a point before the meetings with Belgium. and Wales.
However, a surprise friendly win over Finland in June means the hosts enter this game after a winning streak of three games in all competitions, but facing the world’s number one nation could see the green points streak unfold. breaks quickly.
Belgium’s number one world rankings have yet to translate into the international piece of silver they so crave, but they managed to make the perfect start to Euro 2020 with three wins out of three in a group with Denmark, Russia, and Finland before facing off against Portugal in the last 16.
Facing the champions proved to be a true test of the Roberto Martinez team’s mettle, but a Thorgan Hazard winner saw them ditch the 2016 winners before attempting to replicate their heroics against Italy, albeit falling short in a 2-1 loss. 1 as another chance for the glory he went begging.
It is understandable that speculation about Martinez’s future accelerated after a disappointing performance, but the former Everton and Wigan Athletic boss will remain in his position for now as he seeks to fulfill Belgium’s ambitions of a trophy in Qatar 2022.
Despite drawing 1-1 against the resilient Czechs on Matchday 2 of qualifying, the Red Devils defeated Wales 3-1 on Opening Match before a complete 8-0 rout of Belarus on March 30. , and only Denmark has scored more. goals in UEFA rankings so far.
Estonia beat Belgium 2-0 in 2009, but in the two most recent meetings between the two teams, the Red Devils were without overall winners 10-1, beating their opponents 8-1 at home before a win by 2-0 away during qualifying. for the 2018 World Cup.
Estonia possible starting lineup:
Hein; Tamm, Kuusk, Mets; Puri, Kreida, Kait, Vassiljev, Pikk; Sappinen, Anier
Belgium possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen; Castagne, Witsel, Tielemans, T. Hazard; Carrasco, E. Hazard; Lukaku